Asiad the only low in an otherwise good year for shooters | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Asiad the only low in an otherwise good year for shooters

delhi Updated: Dec 23, 2010 11:59 IST
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Fortunes ebbed and flowed but Indian shooters, led by the mercurial Gagan Narang, experienced more highs than lows in a year that saw them clinch a record 30 medals in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

A measly haul of eight medals in the Asian Games in Guangzhou following the high at home was the only blip in an otherwise satisfactory year.

After a mixed bag in the World Championships Indian marksmen, led by Narang and Beijing Olympic gold medallist, Abhinav Bindra, kicked off the CWG campaign in grand fashion winning the 10-metre air rifle gold in team as well as individual event on the first and second day respectively.

The likes of Vijay Kumar, Omkar Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Anisa Syed maintained the tempo throughout to help the country finish with a whopping medal haul in front of a partisan crowd.

But, as the year drew towards close, the home shooters somewhat ran out of steam and failed to finish it off in a blaze of glory.

Expectations touched an all-time high after the unprecedented success on home range but the same set of shooters who were shooting gold by the bagful in the CWG, buckled under pressure a month later on foreign shore.

From 30 medals including 14 gold, 11 silver and five bronze, the numbers plummeted to four bronze, three silver and just one gold in the span of just over a month. Going by their exploits prior to the Asiad, that surely was a misfire.

"We did reasonably well in the World Championships, were pretty good in the CWG but our performance in the Asian Games was not good. So we can say it was more or less a mixed year for us," said national coach Sunny Thomas.

As far as individuals were concerned Narang was undoubtedly the cynosure of all eyes in the Indian shooting firmament.

Thanks to his consistent showings over the past 12 months during which he had won a staggering 16 medals including four gold in the Commonwealth Games and two silver in Asiad, Narang will end the year as the number one Asian shooter, according to the latest rankings issued by Asian Shooting Confederation.