Tejaswini dedicates victory to late father

August 8th, 2010 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Tejaswini Sawant Sunday became the first Indian woman shooter to win a gold at the World Championships with a world record equalling score in the 50m rifle prone event in Munich. She dedicated the medal to her father, who had been her pillar of strength and passed away earlier this year.
Tejaswini shot 597 (100,100,100,99,99,99) and was tied with Polish shooter Ewa Joanna Nowakowska, equalling the 1998 record set by Marina Bobkova of Russia. She was declared winner with a better perfect score tally of 41. Olga Dovgun of Kazakhstan won the bronze with a score of 596.

After winning the medal, the gritty girl recalled how at one point financial constrains forced her to consider giving up shooting, but the strong support of her family, especially her father, kepy her going.

“I dedicate this gold to my father,” Tejaswini told IANS from Munich.

Tejaswini’s father passed away Feb 23 when she was competing at the Commonwealth Championships here.

“I was shattered after hearing the news, but I could not leave the competition. I was part of the team and had I left, the team would not not have been able to participate,” she said.

“I owe it to him. On many occasion I told him that I will not go for the camps and tournaments, because it was getting difficult for my family to afford it. We have seen some bad days. But he would always tell me to continue shooting and somehow he would manage the finances,” said Tejaswini, 29, who won two gold medals in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games in the air rifle event.

She won gold medals in 10m air rifle singles and 10m air rifle pairs (with Avneet Kaur Sidhu).

Tejaswini says she could have broken the world record but nerves got the better of her in the last shot.

“When I came to know that I would break the world record if I shoot 100, I became nervous. And that affected my performance in the last shot in which I scored 599. But I am very happy to become the first Indian woman to win a gold in a World Championship.”

Tejaswini, who hails from Kolhapur, Maharashtra, is now eyeing to give of her best in the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games.

“Everything has been hapenning as per the planning of my coaches. (Kazakh coach) Stanislav Lapidus had some plans for me. I have been training hard and as per the plans charted out, I was supposed to score my personal best here. I won the gold with a world equalling score, I could not have asked for more,” she said.

India’s shooting coach Sunny Thomas was elated with Tejaswini’s performance.

“It came as a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a medal from her in the rifle 3 position event. She was very confident and she did well in the elimination, but could not produce the same performance in the finals. She made up in the prone. She is the World Champion and it is a huge achievement. She is only the fifth world-record holder in India,” Thomas told IANS.

Thomas said it was a mixed performance from the Indian shooters at the World Championships.

“There are some shooters who peaked in the tournament, but there were some shooters who were nowhere. There were a lot of expectations from some of them. It could be a completely different team in the Commonwealth Games because the scores of this event would be taken for final selection. For shooters who could not participate in this event, we would have another selection trial.”

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