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Gagan fails to make cut in 10m air rifle

New Delhi: London Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang found himself out of the 10m air rifle team for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, when the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) named the squad on Friday.

Narang, a winner of World Cup gold medal in 2010, however, would be in the squad in two other rifle events — 50m three-position and 50m prone. He will be in the team along with Sanjeev Rajput and Joydeep Karmakar.

In the last CWG in Delhi, Narang bagged four gold medals, including two in the 10m air rifle individual and pairs event.

However, the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra has made the two-member 10m air rifle team by topping the scores along with newcomer Ravi Kumar.

Bindra would be taking part in his fifth Commonwealth Games. The Glasgow Games will be held from July 23 to August 3.

Sources said that more heads might roll as top double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi could also be out of the squad because of poor form.

However, since the shotgun trials would only conclude after the Almaty World Cup, the official confirmation on Sodhi was not available.

In the 50m prone event in the trials, Joydeep pipped Narang by 0.6 point for the first place.

Joydeep had qualified in the sixth place with a score of 612.0, while Narang topped the qualification with a score of 616.3.

“For almost a year, I was out of the circuit, hardly taking part in top level competitions. My fate completely depended on scores in the trials… Yet I made the squad,” said Joydeep with a smile.

“Now I know that I am back in business. I will go to Germany for a month-long training next month and should be ready for international events,” he added.

Narang did not find a place in the team because his last six scores were not good enough.

The scores are taken on the basis of World Cups, National championship and national trials.

“The omission of Gagan is sad, but our selections are done as per the criteria,” said the NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia.

World No. 1 Heena Sidhu will lead the Indian women’s challenge in the pistol and rifle events alongside Lajja Gauswami and a host of other promising shooters.

The 24-year-old Heena recently attained the top spot in women’s 10m air pistol after winning back-to-back medals — a gold at Asian Air Gun Championship in Kuwait, followed by a silver at ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning, US, last month.