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Tejaswini wins with a world record



Tejaswini Sawant.

NEW DELHI: Tejaswini Sawant became the first Indian woman shooter to be crowned a World champion when she won the 50m rifle prone event with a World record 597 in the 50th World shooting championship in Munich on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Tejaswini shot a series of 100, 100, 100, 99, 99 and 99 to pip Joanna Ewa Nowakowska of Poland, who also equalled the world record with a 597, with a better tally of inner tens, 41 to 39.

Olga Dovgun of Kazakhstan, who has so far shot the World record thrice in prone, had to settle for bronze with a 596, while the seasoned Sonja Pfeilschifter of Germany had to be content with fourth place.

Since women's prone does not figure in the Olympics, there was no question of Tejaswini doubling her joy with an Olympic quota place.

The soft-spoken shooter from Kolhapur, Tejaswini joined Abhinav Bindra and Manavjit Singh Sandhu as the only two other Indian shooters to have won a World championship gold. Of course, they had done it in Olympics events, air rifle and trap respectively.

Among the juniors, Asher Noria had won the double trap gold in the current edition with a junior World record, while Navnath Fartade had won the gold in air rifle in the last edition in Zagreb, Croatia, in 2006.

It was a quantum leap in international performance for Tejaswini, as she had won only a bronze in the World Cup in rifle 3-position event so far. That performance, when she shot a National record 588 also happened in Munich, last year.

In fact, Tejaswini had not competed in the prone event on the world stage so far, and had been restricting her entries only to the Asian Championship and the Asian Games in Doha. With the rigorous selection trials cutting her options down, she capitalised on her chance, in an unfamiliar event, to stamp her class.

For someone, who had shot into prominence, bagging gold medals during the last Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, Tejaswini had to grapple with her form over the years.

This effort would propel her to go for the Olympic quota place in the 3-position and air rifle events for the London Games.

The 20-year-old Heena Sidhu shot 382 in women's air pistol and missed the final by one point. She had a below par last card, in an otherwise good series of 95, 98, 97 and 92.

With Annuraj Singh (381) and Shweta Chaudhry (378) pulling their weight, the Indian team was placed fifth, a solitary point behind the bronze medallist China, and four points behind the gold medallist Australia in a strong field of 37 teams.

In the junior section of the women's prone event, C. Rekha did well to shoot the third best score of 594, but had to take the sixth spot on the basis of lesser number of inner 10s. It was a 10-point jump to her effort for the team on Saturday. She had a series of 98, 100, 99, 100, 98, 99.

In women's skeet, Arti Singh retired from the competition after a round of 18, on Saturday.

The results: Women: 50m rifle prone: 1. Tejaswini Sawant 597 (EWR) 41x; 2. Joanna Ewa Nowakowska (Pol) 597 (EWR) 39x; 3. Olga Dovgun (Kaz) 596; 45. Meena Kumari 590. Team: 1. Switzerland 1780 (111x); 2. Germany 1780 (110x); 3. Korea 1779; 10. India 1768.

Junior women: 1. Sharon Barazani (US) 596; 2. Sarah Beard (US) 595; 3. Jennifer McIntosh (GBR) 594 (44x); 6. C. Rekha 594 (28x); 59. Aparajita Tiwary 580. Team: 1. Czech Republic 1780 (WRJ); 2. Austria 1772 (99x); 3. Ukraine 1772 (92x); 19. India 1747.

Skeet: 1. Kimberly Rhode (US) 97 (72); 2. Wei Ning (Chn) 96 (71); 3. Danka Bartekova (Svk) 95 (72). Team: 1. US 205; 2. China 204; 3. Slovakia 201.

Junior women: 1. Virginia Orlando (Ita) 70; 2. Jaiden Grinnell (US) 68 (2); 3. Zhang Yue (Chn) 68 (1). Team: 1. US 197; 2. China 194; GBR 186 .

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