Hat-trick hero Chain edges out Narang for gold

South Asian Games : India win 50M rifle 3-position team title

Hat-trick hero Chain edges out Narang for gold

The Kahilipara Shooting Range witnessed another battle between India’s two ace rifle shooters as Chain Singh triumphed over Gagan Narang for a splendid hat-trick, the country continuing to reap the riches at the 12th South Asian Games here on Sunday.

On the penultimate day of the shooting competition, the 22-year-old Chain produced another dominant performance, opening up a commanding lead halfway through the 50M rifle 3-position final before walking away with the gold after totalling 453.3. London Olympics bronze medallist Narang, who struggled for consistency in the final, settled for silver at 450.3 while Sri Lanka’s SMM Samarkon (430.9) took home a surprise bronze after India’s Surendra Singh Rathod suffered a major blip in the prone section.

The Indians, who have claimed all but one gold on offer in shooting, expectedly won the team championship title with Sri Lanka finishing second and Bangladesh ending third.

Chain, a Rio Olympics quota place winner for the country like Narang, has been in exceptional form at this South Asian Games, shooting some splendid scores. In the previous two finals, he's gone about setting the pace, allowing himself the luxury to breathe a bit in the middle phase before launching himself for the final assault. The 50M rifle 3-position on Sunday was no different.

After the opening series of five shots in the kneeling section, Sri Lanka’s HDP Kumara surprisingly shot himself up the leaderboard as Chain trailed in second position. But that was the only time when the Army man, born in Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir, was behind as the rest of the pack struggled to keep pace with him thereafter.

He kept finding the 10s consistently, the hoots and whistles from the crowd hardly proving a distraction for him. Narang, on the other hand, wavered from the brilliant to the ordinary. A 10+ was followed by scores in the 9 region as Chain ended the kneeling section with a huge 7.5 point lead over second-placed Kumara. Narang was trailing at third place, 8.2 points behind.

A master of many a battle, the 32-year-old Hyderabadi upped the ante in the second prone section. He blasted several scores in the 10+ region but young Chain was ready for the fight as well, firing some good scores. The brilliance of Narang though helped him to rise to second, narrowing the lead to 5.8 points.

The standing section saw both Narang and Chain feel the pressure and falter a bit. With ammunition running out, Narang recomposed himself to stage a final assault but Chain steadied himself at home stretch to complete a memorable treble.

“I’ve never thought of a personal battle between me and Narang,” a delighted Chain said following his sixth gold of the meet. “I just wanted to win as many golds as I could. I’m really happy to have won three of them. With the Rio Olympics coming up this event was a good start-up exercise.

“I wanted to test myself competitively. The wins in a competition phase gives me a lot of self belief and confidence. The main goal is Rio and this success is very helpful.”

Results: Men: 50M rifle 3-position, individual: Chain Singh (Ind) 453.3, 1; Gagan Narang (Ind) 450.3, 2; SMM Samarkon (SL) 430.9, 3.

Team championship: India (Chain Singh, Gagan Narang, Surendra Singh Rathod) 3490-174x, 1; Sri Lanka (3431-118x) 2; Bangladesh (3398-10x) 3.

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