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Anjali, Suma out of CWG team

December 28, 2005 19:22 IST

Ace shooters Anjali Bhagwat and Suma Shirur failed to hold on to their place in team for their pet air rifle event at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games to be held in March next year.

Filling in shoes of Anjali and Suma, who won the team air rifle gold at the 2002 edition in Manchester, were young guns Avneet Kaur Sidhu and Tejaswini Sawant.

Anjali, however, found a place in the rifle 3 position alongside Anuja Jung in the 36-member shooting squad announced by the National Rifle Association of India in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Other top names in the team included Olympic silver medallist Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore, Abhinav Bindra, Jaspal Rana, Gagan Narang, Mansher Singh and Manavjit Singh.

"We strictly abided by the selection criteria we had set and we did not want to go back on our words by diverting from it," chief coach Sunny Thomas said.

He said the teams have been selected strictly on the aggregate scores of two selection trials held in Delhi and Hyderabad and the National Championships.

"We calculated the average of two highest scores in the two trial camps and the national championships and the top two scorers were given the place in the team," he said.

Avneet shot a perfect round of 400/400 during the Hyderabad trial camp and Tejaswini scored 97 and 99 to grab the top two positions while Anjali and Suma were relegated to fourth and  fifth places, with Saudamini Gavankar occupying the third spot.

"Anjali and Suma were also good. The difference in their scores was just in decimals but we had to be transparent in our selection," Thomas said.

When asked if the country would lose on medals since most of the selected shooters were young and lacked in experience of playing the big events, Thomas said "even if it means we'll lose medals, we had to be transparant in our selection."

Harveen Srao, who had performed outstandingly well in the Delhi trial camps has expectedly been included in the air pistol team.

On Rathore's inclusion in the team despite being exempted from participating in the Hyderabad trials, the chief coach said "he was in good form in the nationals and wanted to take a break from shooting, so that he could peak in time for the competition. He applied to the secretary general and after the discussion his request was agreed to."

Upcoming talent Shweta Choudhary, however, missed the bus in the sports pistol team.

The shooters, who are taking a short break after the trials, will resume the action at a camp in the Delhi from scheduled from January 9 to 24 from where the the 16 air weapon candidates will leave for a training stint in Munich in Germany from January 24 to 29.

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