Asian Games: Gagan Narang shoots a silver double on opening day (Intro Round Up)

November 13th, 2010 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Abhinav Bindra Guangzhou, Nov 13 (IANS) Shooter Gagan Narang opened India’s medal count on the opening day of the Asian Games with two silver medals in the 10-metre air rifle individual and team events, where he shot with Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput, here Saturday.

However, there was disappointment as Bindra and Rajput failed to make the final cut of the individual event. The duo was tied with three other shooters at 593, but lost in the shoot-off. India also failed to win a medal in the other four shooting events of the day.

After Narang (597), Bindra (593), and Rajput (593) shot silver as a team with a total of 1,783 points, Narang was left alone to shoulder India’s challenge in the individual event at the Aaoti Shooting Ranges. He shot a cumulative 700.7 (103.7+597) points to finish behind China’s Zhu Qinan (104+598).

India also performed well in cue sports with defending champion Pankaj Advani reaching the semi-final of the English billiards singles event. The women’s team (Vidya Vishwanathan Pillai, Chitra Magimarajan, Anuja Chandra and Magimarajan) made it to the quarter-finals of the 6-red snooker team event, beating Singapore 3-0 while the men (Aditya Snehal Mehta, Yasin Merchant, Brijesh Damani) got past Afghanistan 3-2 in a tight finish to enter the last eight of the snooker event.

Veteran Geet Sethi, however, suffered a shock defeat in the pre-quarterfinals of English billiards, losing 1-3 to OO Nay Thway Oo of Myanmar.

The women’s hockey team began their campaign with an impressive 4-0 victory over Malaysia in Group A.

In tennis, the men’s team (Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 drubbing of Qatar while the women (Poojashree Venkatesha, Nirupama Sanjeev, Rushmi Chakravarthi) were outclassed 0-3 by Indonesia. An indisposed Sania did not play.

There was disappointment in weightlifting, badminton and cycling after Narang & Co began the day fairly well at the ranges.

Narang, who won four gold medals at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, had a close fight with China’s 2004 Olympic champion Zhu Qinan for the gold. The Indian totalled 700.7 (103.7+597) to finish behind Zhu. South Korea’s Kiwon Kim got the bronze with 700 (596 qualifying, 104 final).

Narang admitted that it was tough for him to make up for the deficit from the qualifying stage, though he was led Zhu after the sixth shot in the final round.

“I am not disappointed at all. Today we won two silver medals and I feel this is a creditable performance in a tough field,” said Narang.

After his shock exit, Bindra claimed that problems in electronic scoring cost him a place in the final.

Bindra, who won the Olympic gold two years ago in Beijing, insisted that he fired a nine in the 42nd shot, but it was counted as seven.

“I was 100 percent sure that my 42nd shot was a nine, but to my horror it was counted as seven. I did not want to lodge an appeal because if I had lost it, the team would have lost two points and also the medal,” said Bindra.

In the team event, Chinese Zhu, Yu Jikang and Cao Yifei won the gold with 1,784 points while South Korea’s Kiwon Kim, Jonghyun Kim and Sungsoon Choi got the bronze with 1,780 points.

In billiards, Advani first scored a thumping 101-27, 102-35, 100-26 victory over Indonesia Ricky Yang to march into the quarter finals in the morning and later overcame a stiff challenge from Praput to prevail 100-0, 101-45, 29-101, 0-101, 102-58 and make it to the last four where he faces Kyaw Oo.

The women’s hockey team had a flawless start as they outclassed Malaysia 4-0. Thokchom Chanchan Devi (26th minute), Deepika Thakur (43rd), Rani Rampal (53rd) and Surinder Kaur (67th) scored field goals. India next play Japan Tuesday. The Indian women had won bronze in the previous edition at Doha.

In badminton, India lost 1-4 in the men’s competition and their only win came through a gutsy Parupalli Kashyap, who defeated Hsuan Yi Hsueh 18-21, 21-13, 23-21 after saving two match points.

The women’s team lost 2-3 after winning their first two matches courtesy Commonwealth Games gold medallists Saina Nehwal and the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.

Saina gave India a rousing start beating Adriyant Firdasari 21-16, 21-17 while Gutta and Ponnapa, ranked 31, pulled off a remarkable victory against world no.9 Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari 21-17, 17-21, 23-21. After that, Indians lost their next three matches to bow out.

In table tennis, women beat Laos but lost to world champions Singapore while the men put up a valiant fight before going down to fourth-seeded Chinese-Taipei.

Despite the early setbacks, India are expected to reach the quarter-finals in the men’s and women’s team events.

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