Himachal shooter beats Apurvi, Mehuli to win National Shooting Championship


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MK Digital Line
The Himachal Pradesh-based Khitta shot 252.2 in the finals of the 10-meter air rifle event to win the gold by 1.7 points. 18-year old Zeena Khitta displayed the depth of the talent pool in Indian shooting as she clinched a gold medal ahead of Mehuli Ghosh and Apurvi Chandela in the 63rd National Shooting Championships on Thursday. The Himachal Pradesh-based Khitta shot 252.2 in the finals of the 10-meter air rifle event to win the gold by 1.7 points.

Ghosh won silver while former world number 1 and a winner of two gold medals this year Chandela came third. In a highly competitive field that saw 426 shooters, Khitta came fourth in the qualifying round that was topped by Shriyanka Sadangj, who shot 627.8. However, Khitta upped her game in the final round as she managed to beat the stalwarts en route the historic medal.

She had also participated in the youth section, where she bagged bronze, with Janhavi Khanvilkar and Atmika Gupta bagging gold and silver respectively. The teenager also participated in the junior section that saw 398 shooters taking the range. Khitta ended in the sixth position in the event.

The shooter from Rohru in Himachal, Khitta took to shooting only in 2015 on the insistence of national shooter Virender Singh Banshtu. She got her first national medal soon after as she clinched a bronze medal in a junior event that was held in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala in 2017.


Khitta, who trains in temperatures of minus two-degree celsius back at home, did find it tougher to adjust to the warmer conditions in Bhopal, the venue of the nationals. At the Aradhana Public School in Rohru, the youngster uses a heater inside the shooting range and adjusting from the severe cold to milder temperatures does remain her greatest challenge.

Anjum Moudgil, a World Championship silver medalist shot 624.1 to end on the 20th spot in the nationals, while Elavenil Valarivan, the current world number one, managed to shoot 623.7 to end on 24th position. Olympian Ayonika Paul finished 18th with a score of 624.2.

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