Ace marksman Gagan Narang today opened India’s account in the London Olympic Games by clinching the bronze medal in the men’s 10m air rifle event here.
Narang shot 103.1 in a gripping ten-shot finals for an aggregate of 701.1 after scoring 598 in the qualifying round in which also he stood third.
The gold was won by Romania’s Moldoveanu Alin George who tallied 702.1, that included 103.1 in the final, to upset world number 1 Niccolo Campriani of Italy who stood second with 701.5 at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
After a good start when he shot 10.7, Narang was off target with his second shot that fetched him 9.7. But he gathered his wits and steadied his aim to collect 10.6 10.7 10.4 and 10.6 in the following four shots to at one stage remain on course for bagging even a silver.
However, he slipped a bit and had to fight for the bronze medal with China’s Wang Tao who finished fourth with 700.4.
After returning poor scores of 9.9 and 9.5 in the seventh and eighth attempts, Narang pulled up his socks to seal the bronze with impressive scores of 10.3 and 10.7.
Narang’s compatriot and defending champion Abhinav Bindra had, however, suffered a shocking exit with his dismal show in the preliminaries in which he stood 16th out of 47 contestants with a score of 594 out of 600.
Narang’s bronze medal is only the third in shooting on the planet’s biggest sporting event after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver in double trap in Athens 2004 and Bindra’s gold in the last Games at Beijing.
This was also India’s eighth individual medal in the Olympic Games.
Narang will be competing in two more events at the Games. [PTI]