Vijay Kumar of India clinched silver in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol event to win the second medal for India in the London Olympics on Friday. Kumar, who shot a score of 30 in his eight five-point shots, lost to a world-record score of 34 by Leuris Pupo of Cuba. China's Dingh feng won the bronze by scoring 27 in his eight shots.
This is the first Olympics medal for the army subedar from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh. Earlier, the 27-year-old had won two gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In the same year, he won a bronze medal in the Asian Games.
Himachal celebrates its 'boy's' victory
When news of 27-year-old marksman Vijay Kumar winning the silver medal in the London Olympics broke out on Friday, a non-descript village in Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh came alive - sweets and congratulatory messages poured into the Harsour village house of the shooter's proud father, Banku Ram.
With the feat, Kumar made history: He became the first sportsperson from the hill state to win an individual medal in the Olympics. "This is one of the most proud moments for me. My son has made our village proud," Vijay's father, Banku Ram, a retired army subedar told Hindustan Times over the phone. Vijay, who, too, is a subedar, had ranked fourth in the qualification round of the 25-metre rapid fire pistol final before taking the second spot. "I was always sure of Vijay's shooting skill. I knew he would get a medal in the Olympics," Banku Ram added.
Vijay's victory came as a breath of fresh air for a dejected Indian contingent that saw the Indian hockey team lose another match on the same day. Vijay's mother Roshni Devi was at a loss of words. "God has blessed Vijay," she said.
Banku Ram said his son developed interest in shooting after joining the army. The silver medalist is a serving subedar in the 16th Dogra Regiment. "He liked to play other games with village boys. But at that time, he too must have not heard about shooting," Banku Ram said, adding: "But he always intrigued by my guns."
CM announces Rs 1crore, Himachal Gaurav for Vijay
When Vijay Kumar will return to his home state from Olympics, it seems the state government will roll out the red carpet for the Olympics silver medalist.
Following the shooter's feat, Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal announced Rs 1 crore for Vijay, apart from conferring him with the Himachal Gaurav on Independence Day. "This village boy has brought great laurels to the state. It is a matter of great pride for a small state like ours," Dhumal said. State Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur said the party, too, would felicitate him. Earlier, Vijay Kumar had won two gold medals at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal in the Asian Games in the same year.