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11th SA Games 2010: Golden girls shoot to glory..

The golden girls of Bangladesh (L-R) Sadia Sultana, Sharmin Akhter Ratna and Tripti Datta are over the moon after winning the women's 10m air rifle team event gold at the National Shooting Range yesterday

Sharmin Akhter Ratna scripted history for Bangladesh in shooting when she won both the individual and team event gold in the women's 10m air rifle competitions of the 11th South Asian Games at the Gulshan Shooting Range yesterday.
The expectation was that the three Bangladeshi young prospects Ratna, Syeda Sadia Sultana and Tripti Datta would do something special in the regional showpiece event, but what the trio has done in battle of nerve, accuracy and unbridled emotion was beyond anybody's guess.
It was a day for Ratna, who transformed her years of training into near-perfection when it mattered most. The 21-year-old from Magura shattered the Games record by scoring 499.4 out of 509. The previous best was India's Radhika Varalle's 498.1 in Colombo 2006.
After scoring 398 in her first ten shots, Ratna went into the shoot-off as favourite and from there on she didn't look behind to complete a magnificent double that no other shooter of the country has achieved before in any international meet.
Sadia took the silver with an aggregate of 498.3 points, but Tripti, who score of 396 earned Bangladesh the team event gold, missed the individual bronze by a whisker.
India's Mampi Das with a total of 496.9 points, 0.1 more than Tripti, took the individual bronze in an exciting battle that kept everybody on the edge of their seats.
Mampi (394), Sruti Tushar Bhatepatil (391), Tejaswini Manojrao (390), won the silver in the team event while Nazis Khan (386), Nosheen Maqsood Ali (382) and Naheda Naqvi (379) took the bronze for Pakistan.
Ratna is very popular for her carefree approach and there was no shortage of confidence when she was talking with the reporters after her dazzling effort, which helped the hosts to make a bright start in the shooting event on the opening day.
"I always love to dream something big. I achieved my best score today and so far it's best achievement in my career also and I think self-confidence was the key behind my success apart from my coach's contributions. Now my target is to hunt gold in a bigger international stage like Olympics," said a delighted Ratna, whose efforts stunned everybody after the way she improved her previous best.
"India had the favourites tag but we had the confidence and it was just a matter for us to prove ourselves in the field. And we did exactly that today. That's it," said Ratna referring to their brilliant team effort, which almost outclassed their Indian challengers.
"Magura is known to people because of Shakib (Al Hasan) but from now on it will be known because of me also," said the smiling Ratna.
The battle of two Bangladeshi shooters Ratna and Sadia was the most exciting part in the day's event as the latter pushed the champion shooter hard but finally lost as Ratna bounced back strongly in the last two shots to win by a small margin.
"I'm really happy with the outcome because it's my best effort. It's really great that we won the team and individual gold medal in the event. My father inspired me to take up this sport when I was only 10 years old and you know it's my first big event and I got the silver," said a delighted Sadia, who hails from Chittagong.
"I think the most important thing in shooting is how much you concentrate on your game. I always do meditation and you may be surprised to learn that I don't even use mobile phone," she added.
The lady from Mymen singh, Tripti, however was in a gloomy mood as she could not accept the fact that she lost the individual bronze to the Indian shooter.
"It's not because I lost the bronze rather I'm disappointed as I could not show my best in the shoot-off which is my favourite. Still, I am delighted with our team and individual efforts," said Tripti.
When the women's team were over the moon, the men's team members were nowhere in the 25m Standard Pistol event at the same venue where India stole the show, led by Vivek Singh, who also won the doubles in the event.
Vivek (570), along with Harpreet Singh (550), Chandra shekhar Kumar Chowdhury (555), first led India to aggregate a grand total of 1675 to clinch the gold where Maqbool Hussain Tabbasum (538), Muhammad Younas (547), Mustaqeem Shah (556) aggregated 1641 to secure the silver for Pakistan and Sri Lanka's NGN Pedige (524), TDS Femando (551) and SE Mudiyanselage (511) finished with 1586 to bag the bronze.
Vivek clinched the individual gold with 570 while Mustaqeem (556) won the silver for Pakistan and Chandrashekhar finished with 555 to confirm the bronze also for India.

Source: The Daily Star/February 3, 2010


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