The 18-year-old rifle shooter beat seasoned stars like Apurvi Chandela and Mehuli Gosh to win the gold in 10m Air Rifle event
World number three Apurvi Chandela and Mehuli Ghosh were in for a surprise at the 63rd National Shooting Championships as youngster Zeena Khitta of Himachal Pradesh pulled off an upset win to clinch the gold medal in the 10m Air Rifle at the 63rd National Shooting Championships in Bhopal.
The 18-year-old was in the fourth position after the qualifying stages but then surged clear with a brilliant score of 252.2 in the final.
Ghosh finished second with 250.5, with the world record holder Chandela registering 227.6 to end in third place.
Hailing from Himachal, Madhya Pradesh’s heat wasn’t very welcoming for Khitta and she stated the same after her gold medal feat. “I definitely find it tougher shooting in much warmer conditions as compared to my hometown Rohru, where temperatures are around 10 degrees in September and reach minus two degrees in winter,” Zeena told the Indian Express.
The competition started with a star-studded 426 shooters and saw many prominent names losing out in the intense competition. Qualification topper Shriyanka Sadangi could only finish sixth after a score of 163.4, behind the likes of Meghana Sajjanar (205.9) and Homanshika Reddy (184.7) who finished fourth and fifth respectively in the final.
Anjum Moudgil, the World Championship silver medallist could only shoot 624.1 to end in the 20th position while current World No. 1 shooter of the event, Elavenil Valarivan, could garner 623.7 to finish in the 24th place. Olympian Ayonika Paul finished 18th with a score of 624.2.
Chandela, however, got along with Shriyanka Sadangi and Gayatri Pawaskar to win the gold medal in the mixed team event for ONGC, while Ghosh won two golds with her individual and team junior titles in Air Rifle.
Khitta couldn’t repeat her feat in the youth section though, as she finished third in the category, which had 570 shooters, as Janhavi Khanvilkar and Atmika Gupta finished first and second.