Anita, Dharmendra make it a day for rookies

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SummaryTeammates, competitors, officials, all rushed to congratulate her.

Moments after trouncing Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anisa Sayyed, Anita Devi didn’t understand the hullabaloo that followed her winning first National gold medal. Teammates, competitors, officials, all rushed to congratulate her. But for her, it was a culmination of years of hard work and struggle. A result that she said was due for a while.

“I knew I will win. Mehnet acchi ki thi so it was expected,” said the head constable with the Haryana Police as she bagged the 25-metre pistol gold on Tuesday.

What she left unsaid was the manner in which she dominated the field that included Heena Sidhu, Rahi Sarnobat, Annuraj Singh, Sonia Rai — the best of the Indian pistol team.

The 27-year-old from Purkhas village, Sonepat, matched Anisa shot for shot to finish joint top with 17 hits after the five series before elimination. She went one step further, triumphing over Sayyed, the firm favourite after shooting an aggregate of 585 points after qualification.

As per the new rules four bottom-place shooters are eliminated after shooting five series of five shots each. The top two then go into a shoot-off for gold medal and the third and fourth placed shooters then fight for the bronze medal. Also the hits register only if a shooter manages to find 10.2 or upwards mark and whoever bags more hits would bag two points after every series.

Neck and neck

It was neck and neck after the first two series as they shared a point each. In the next three series it was Anita all the way as she ended up winning 8-2.

Earlier, Haryana’s Gauri Sheoran got the better of Rahi Sarnobat in the bronze medal play-off.

There was a triumph by a rookie in the 10m air pistol category too, where 22-year-old Army sepoy, Dharmendra Singh won his first gold medal in only his third national tournament. Placed seventh after the qualifications with a total of 576 points, the Army Marksman Unit trainee shot a total of 199.1 points to bag the first position, while his team mate Jitu Rai was second with a tally of 197.3. Veteran pistol shooter, CISF’s Samaresh Jung finished third on the podium after losing tie-shoot against Rai.

“I knew that I will finish in the top-three, but I wasn’t so sure about the gold,” Singh, said, who had only began shooting in the last three years. He was transferred to the AMU after showing his mettle in

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