Indian men win bronze in 10m air pistol, Jitu fifth in singles

Indian men win bronze in 10m air pistol, Jitu fifth in singles

Indian shooters continued to shine at the 17th Asian Games, clinching the bronze medal in men's 10m air pistol team event, but Jitu Rai could not emulate his golden feat and finished fifth after promising much in the earlier part of the individual finals here today.

Rai's splendid and precise shooting, that helped him garner 585 points and qualify for the medal round with the second-best score of 585 that was just one point behind Kazakhstan's top scorer Rashid Yunusmetov, backed up by Samaresh Jung's 580 (who finished 9th) and Prakash Nanjappa's 578 (14th), albeit with an injured leg, helped India garner 1743 points, the same as second placed China, for the bronze.

In fact, India and China were level on points and the silver was decided by the number of Xs (bullseye) in the tens in which the latter tallied one more - 65 to India's 64.

The gold was won by hosts South Korea with a combined tally of 1744.
The men's trap trio of Mansher Singh, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Darius Kynan Chenai flopped with all of them finishing outside the top ten.

Mansher secured the 11th position with an aggregate of 117 over two days, Sandhu secured 116 to be 14th while Chenai brought up the rear after logging 108 to end up a distant 36 out of 46 shooters.

Army man Rai, who had provided India with their first gold in the Games on day one of competitions yesterday by winning the 50m title, could not add to his or the country's tally when the eight-man finals took place.

The 50m champion was leading after the sixth of the 20-shot finals in the shorter distance. He was ahead of his renowned Korean rival and eventual gold medallist Kim Cheongyang before slipping to the second spot with his next shot of 9.5.

Rai, who became the first pistol shooter after Jaspal Rana among men to strike gold at the Asian Games, then remained in the second slot behind the host country shooter till the 9th shot and then even jumped to the joint lead when he shot 10.4 to the Korean's 10.3 off the tenth shot.

However, the 11th shot proved to be his undoing as he was off target to log 7.8, which upset his medal chances. He got eliminated after the 14th shot with an aggregate of 138.3.

Rai, of Nepalese origin, later blamed the claps from the crowd.

"Actually what happened was that the previous shooter (Korean Kim) shot 10.9 and people started clapping. What happens in such circumstances is that it takes away time as I had to stop my aim to get concentration back and, with time running out - you get 50 seconds per shot - I had to take a shot and the mistake happened. If I had not taken time off I would have got a zero. It has never happened to me before," said Rai.

Rai said he had also changed his weapon recently and the unfamiliar trigger troubled him at the crucial time and the absence of a day's gap between his two events was another reason as he was very tired after yesterday's gold winning effort.

"I was shooting with a spare weapon. I had changed my weapon and the trigger too was not familiar. Back to back 'ho gaya'. Medal ceremony also happened and I then had to go for practice. If there had been a break of one-two days it would have been better. The organisers had not kept a day or two's break between 50m and 10m events," he said.

However, chief pistol coach Pavel Smirnov did not think it could have contributed to Rai's modest display in the finals.

"I don't think so. They are used to adjust to the different weapons in a short period of time," he said.

Rai's sequence in the finals read: 9.7, 9.9, 10.2, 10.1, 10.7, 10.1, 9.5, 10.2, 10.5, 10.4, 7.8, 9.8, 9.2, 10.2 (eliminated).

The gold was won by Kim with a total score of 201.2 while China's Pang Wei (199.3) and Korea's double Olympic champion Jin Jongoh (179.3) secured silver and bronze. Kazakhstan's Rashid Yunusmetsov, the leader in the preliminary phase, ended fourth with 157.9.

In the qualification Rai's sequence of hits at the target read 97, 99, 95, 98, 97 and 99 and he even expressed his disappointment despite scoring tens at times.
Jung, the 2006 Commonwealth Games 'Gold Finger', came up with 97, 97, 97, 96, 96 and 98 to finish one slot outside the finals qualification.

He later said, "I am pretty happy to finish with a medal and not exactly disappointed (at not making the finals)." "Why only silver, we missed out on the gold too by one point. But that's how it goes," he said.

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