Shooter Gagan Narang wins first medal for India in Olympics
Ace marksman Gagan Narang shot his way to the men's 10m air rifle bronze medal after watching compatriot and Beijing Games gold medalist Abhinav Bindra fall by the wayside in the preliminaries as India scooped up its first medal at the Olympic Games on Monday.
Narang held his nerve in a gripping 8-man finale to stave off the challenge of Chinese rival Wang Tao bagging the third spot with an aggregate of 701.1, behind gold medal winner Alin George Moldoveanu of Romania and Italian world No 1 Niccolo Campriani who tallied 702.1 and 701.5 respectively.
Narang was bang on target from the beginning of competition, scoring two successive 100s, but a 98 in the third series of qualifiers somewhat let down the quadruple gold medal winner at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
The 29-year-old Punjabi based out of Hyderabad, however, kept his cool and fought his way back into the reckoning for the medal round with a perfect 100 in the fourth series and then clinched the final spot as the third best performer by notching two more 100s in his last two rounds.
Narang, will also compete in the 50m rifle 3-position and prone events.
The 29-year-old's medal-winning effort, the first for India on the third day of competitions in London, has lifted the spirits of the Indian camp who were left dazed by the unexpected elimination of Bindra in the qualifying rounds. While Narang sailed into the medal round with a total of 598 out of 600 in the preliminaries before clinching the bronze, Bindra started poorly that cost him dearly in the race to earn the berth in the finals.
Bindra, who created history and a frenzy four years ago at Beijing when he won the gold medal in the men's 10m air rifle event --the first ever individual Olympic title won by an Indian --performed way below par and made a tame exit. He ended up a distant 16th from 47 competitions to end his campaign in the Games on a disappointing note.