The trio of Haryanas Ajay Mittal,his brother Ankur and World No.3 in double trap Ronjan Singh Sodhi were tied at 138 after five rounds of qualifications at the Shooting Nationals at the Dr. Karni Singh Range. And with defending champion,Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore breathing down their necks at 137,the final was destined to be a riveting one. Delhis Sangram Dahiya (137) and 18-year-old Shayan Masood,who edged out another young star Asher Noria in the shoot-out,made up the numbers in the final.
If the commonly held belief that experience almost always triumphs over youth had played itself out,it should have been either Ronjan or Rathore walking away with gold. 23-year-old,Ajay though proved otherwise. He dropped only three targets in the 50- shot final to seal his first senior gold medal. Ajays total of 183 was two better then Dahiya who shot 46/50 in the final for his first individual silver while Rathore who dropped five totalled 182 to round off the podium places. Ronjan fared even worse dropping seven targets to finish fourth. The youngster had comprehensively outgunned established icons.
What made Ajays performance in the final round even more impressive was the way he held his nerve after shooting a lowly 42 in the third round. I focused more after my last round where I dropped a few. I was steady in the finals. I did not shoot thinking I am a better shooter than Rathore and Ronjan,who both have loads of experience. I was shooting thinking I have to prove that I belong here, Ajay said after his win.
But this gold was very important for me as because of dip in form I lost my place in the Indian team last year. Its a new start, the 2007 and 2008 Asian junior champion added. The team gold was won by Delhi trio of Dahiya,Masood and Vikram Bhatnagar. Silver went to Punjabs Sodhi,Yoginder Pal Singh and Vikram Singh Chopra. The Mittal family Ajay and Ankur and father Ashok bagged the team bronze for Haryana.