Gagan Narang wins Bronze medal in 10m Air Rifle Event. More details coming soon. Below you can read the review of the qualifying round.
With Annuraj Singh and Heena Sidhu missing out in the 10m Air Pistol event, attention turned to Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang to keep India’s hopes in shooting alive. Both competed in the 10m Air Rifle Qualification for men held today at the Royal Artillery Barracks. Hopes were high on both Bindra and Narang as one was the defending gold medalist while the other was a world record holder. There was always going to be stiff competition from the likes of China’s Tao Wang and Qinan Zhu as well as Italy’s Niccolo Campriani, but it was down to the pair to the get the job done.
Bindra had a stready start to the qualification but he missed out on hitting the 10’s on 2 occasions in the first 2 series of shots fired bringing his score to 198/200. This put pressure on him to make no more mistakes in the remaining series. At the same time, the number of inner 10’s that he fired were also not enough to give him a fighting chance.
To clarify, the targets have an area called the inner 10 that is enclosed in the 10 point circle. These inner 10’s are not given any score but are important as they would be taken into consideration in case there is a tie of scores between 2 or more shooters. The shooter that has more inner 10’s would win over the others. So, it was important for Bindra to make sure that he convert all his 10 pointers to inner 10’s so that he would have better odds of finishing in the top 8 and qualify.
Gagan Narang, on the other hand, fired off an amazing 26 inner 10’s in a row to show the world what he was capable of. But just as it was beginning to look as if there was nothing that could dissuade Narang from hitting the inner 10’s, he shot two 9’s which put him in danger of falling behind the leaders. But then, he pulled himself together and continued to hit the 10 pointers and at the same time racking up the inner 10’s count.
The pick of the pack though was Niccolo Campriani. He had an almost perfect qualification as he finished with a score of 599/600, with 56 out of a possible 60 inner 10’s. Gagan Narang finished 3rd in the qualification with a score of 598/600 with 53 inner 10’s ahead of Tao Wang, who had the same score but could only shoot 52 inner 10’s.
The pressure seemed to have got to Abhinav Bindra in the final series as he fell apart and could only shoot a score of 97/100, which brought his score to 594 and only 45 inner 10’s. This consigned him to a 15th place, which would be very disappoiting considering the fact that he won the gold in the previous edition and was touted to be part of the mix again.
It is now down to Gagan Narang to get the gold for the nation in the 10m Air Rifle event. He will have to do better than Niccolo Campriani if he has to have any chance at a medal and would also have to keep the likes of Tao Wang and Alin George Moldoveanu at bay.
The final would be contested today at 4:45 pm IST at the same venue.