Jaspal Rana wins gold at Doha | india | Hindustan Times
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Jaspal Rana wins gold at Doha

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 15:53 IST

Jaspal Rana came out from near oblivion to clinch India's first gold medal at the Asian Games in 12 years by taking the honour in the men's 25 m standard pistol event in Doha on Thursday.

The 30-year-old broke Indian shooters' gold medal jinx when he fired 574 at the majestic Lusail shooting ranges to regain the title after his gold in the same event at the Hiroshima Games in 1994.

Despite being down with fever for the last three days and feeling dizzy during the competition, the Delhi-based shooter also led India to the silver medal, with Samresh Jung and Ronak Pandit, who both scored an identical 558 in the competition to take the team total to 1690.

South Korea won the team gold medal with a tally of 1696 and bronze went to Thailand, which garnered 1686 points.

"After almost 14 years of training, I have won the gold medal. But I am sick with fever for the last three days. I felt so tired with headache and dizziness today. So I am happy with what I have achieved," Rana said after his stupendous show.

Rana, the original poster-boy of Indian shooting after his Hiroshima feat, had settled for the silver in the 1998 edition at Bangkok and returned empty-handed from Busan four years ago.

The pistol king has remained the only Indian gold winner in shooting at the quadrennial sports festival with even Athens silver medallist Rajyawardhan Singh Rathore settling for an individual bronze in men's double trap on Tuesday.

"I could not even sleep last night. I had to wake up at 4 am to take medicine and it really left me weak and tired. (But) During the event, I just kept concentrating on my event," Rana said.

"Winning a gold medal for the country is the most special thing for a sportsman," said the marskman, who was pushed into the sidelines by the emergence of a host of other shooters who have done well at the international level.

Rana's impressive scores of 192, 190 and 192 put him three points ahead of the silver medallist Byung Taek Park of Korea on a very fruitful day for the Indians, who now have one gold, five silver and three bronze medals with one day left for the conclusion of the shooting competition.

On his next target, Rana said "I have not planned yet. Probably I will go back to India because I got a shooting academy there. I may do some coaching job."

Coach Sunny Thomas showered praise on Rana describing him as the world's greatest shooter.

"It is India's first gold medal in shooting since the 1994 Hiroshima Asian games. There also Jaspal had won the gold medal in the same event," he said.

"I have always felt that Jaspal is not only the most talented shooter in India in this event, but also in the world. It was a great performance," he added.

He said India could also have snatched the gold in the team event but for the poor form of Jung and Pandit, who have performed well below par in the competitions.

"The poor show by Jung and Pandit prevented India from winning the gold in the team event. Both Jung and Pandit are capable of shooting above 570 consistently but in Doha, they brought in scores of 558 which was not good enough. That in the end deprived us a gold," Thomas said.

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