Lapidus wants gold from his ward

Lapidus wants gold from his ward

The frail figure of Stanislav Lapidus lurked behind Gagan Narang almost at every step as he fought his way to the Olympic bronze medal on Monday.

The ace Indian marksman shows his medal to the inspiration behind the achievement, his coach Stanislav Lapidus. DH Photos / KN Shanth Kumar

The 60-year-old from Kazakhstan has been a solid force behind the Indian rifle shooter but he almost did not make it to the venue, having laid low by fever for the last five days.

Medicines didn’t prove effective and he devised his own method to keep the fever in check – stand under the shower for one hour every day. Indeed, it was sheer determination then that helped him return from the hospital to guide his ward at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Even as the Indian media, officials and politicians – sports minister Ajay Maken too was among the crowd – celebrated the bronze, Lapidus grumbled that Narang had lost the gold.

“If he had shot a bit slow in the third series, he would have done better,” he said.
In the morning, though, it was Narang’s slow start baffled a few Indians. He took 32 minutes to start firing in the 105-minute qualification period within which a shooter has to fire 60 shots. The Indian was among the last to finish too, just before the deadline, before going on to shoot a steady final for the bronze.

Even before the medal could land in his hands, the officials and politicians were basking in the limelight outside, sharing their knowledge with the television reporters.

Also on view was Abhinav Bindra, whose fourth Olympics ended in disappointment. “It is fantastic,” said Bindra. “Shooting 598 at an Olympic Games is superb. To win a medal of any colour is a great achievement.”

“I had predicted a few years ago that Gagan will do well and he has proved it,” added the Beijing champion.

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