Jitu shoots gold on Day 1 at Asiad

Shweta bags bronze in 10M air pistol event

Jitu shoots gold on Day 1 at Asiad

Armyman Jitu Rai led the way with a gold me­dal in men’s 50M pistol eve­nt as shooters opened India’s medal account in sp­l­endid fashion here at the 17th Asian Games on Saturday.

Shweta Chaudhary earned the credit for landing India’s first medal at the continental bash, winning a bronze in the women’s 10M air pistol event, before the in-form Jitu stood tall in a strong field to nail the gold in the 50M pistol event.

The women’s badminton team then ended the opening day of the competition on a bright note, assuring themselves of a team championship bronze medal after edging past Thailand 3-2 to enter the semifinals.

The gold extended Jitu’s medal-winning streak to six from as many events this year, highlighting his rise as the country’s top shooter. After winning the air pistol silver at the Munich World Cup in June, the 27-year-old soft-spoken armyman bagged the 10M air pistol gold and 50M pistol silver at the Maribor World Cup just days later. 

He then smiled his way to success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, firing the 50M pistol gold before asserting his class in the World Championship earlier this month, winning the silver in the same event.

Carrying huge confidence into Incheon despite the taxing workload on his slender shoulders, Jitu made light of it on his Asiad debut, storming his way to the top of the podium as the Indian contingent celebrated.

While Jitu stamped his rise as the new face of Indian shooting, Shweta too had a point to prove. The air pistol gold medallist at the Asian Championships in Bangkok 2005 and team championship bronze medallist at the 2006 Doha Asian Games had gone off the boil over the last few years.

She suffered a shoulder injury that kept her out for most of the 2012-13 season. She is competing regularly only during this season. The bronze would boost her Rio Olympics 2016 dreams.

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