Low-spirited Gagan and Rajput also crash out(Shooting, Lead)

August 15th, 2008 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Abhinav Bindra
By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 15 (IANS) India’s shooting hopes are fading fast, with the marksmen unable to live upto the expectations raised by Abhinav Bindra’s gold medal feat. The latest to misfire Friday were Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput, who failed to qualify for the 50 metre Rifle Prone finals at the Beijing Olympics. Narang could not score even one perfect round - a near-disaster at this level. He managed a total score of 589, with three rounds of 99 and two 98s and one 96 in the fourth series, ending 35th in a field of 56 and crashed out of the qualification.

Teammate Sanjeev Rajput was somewhat better with 591 in the 26th position. He shot 97, 100, 99, 98, 99 and 98.

A heartbroken Narang confessed his Olympic Games were over Monday when he narrowly missed the final of the men’s 10m Air Rifle, an event that is now etched in Indian sporting history for having brought the country its first-ever Individual Olympic gold medal through Bindra.

“For me the Olympics was over that day (day of the 10m Air Rifle). It was very difficult for me to pick myself up after being edged out of the final. We also did not have ammunition for long and that is not the way to prepare to compete against the world’s best,” he said.

Yet, the 25-year-old Narang willed himself to come back to the range to compete in the men’s 50m Prone Rifle. Narang, though, was a poor shadow of himself in a high-octane qualification round where 595 was the last score to get into the eight-man final.

Artur Ayvazian of Ukraine, who topped the qualification with 599 out of 600, with his solitary miss coming in the final series, shot 103.7 for the gold. Each of his shots punched a hole inside the 10-point ring and the best was a 10.8 on the sixth shot of the final.

The silver went to Matt Emmons of the United States, who had the best series of 104.7 in the final, but his score of 598 in qualification pushed him down to silver. Emmons finished with a total of 701.7, his round of 98 in the third series proving costly.

It was the third medal at these Games for the Emmons family, as Matt’s wife, Katerina had won a gold in women’s 10m Air Rifle and a silver in 50m Prone for women.

Warren Potent of Australia took the bronze.

Narang has one more event left — 59 metre Rifle 3 position and the shooter said he is “ready to give my best.”

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