The fire still burns in Jaspal Rana’s belly. At the Al Lusail shooting complex on Thursday, the Delhiite dispelled doubts about his form as he shot the standard pistol gold with a 576 out of 600.
India have been shooting down baser medals in plenty the last six days. Gold seemed elusive but the seasoned Rana came out firing despite running high temperature.
“This win is not a comeback for me. I was always there; the only thing is that I was lying low,” said the champion, who hasn’t been keeping well since the last three days. “I was running fever in the morning (103 degrees F) and my brother, Subhash, gave me medication. I was feeling miserable last night and vomitted.”
“In fact, I was not even sure of my participation, but I didn’t want the team to lose a medal. I just focused on my technique and relied on my reflexes to bag the gold,” said the Indian shooter.
His superb 574 earned the Indian team — young Ronak Pandit and Samresh Jung were the other two shooters — a team silver with an aggregate of 1690. The gold went to South Korea (1696 points).
With cold December rains lashing the ranges, Jaspal shot with fury to score a 96 and then 94. In the second series, he had a 94 and 96 and in the third, a 94 and 98 for an aggregate of 574. That was three ahead of Park Byung Taek of South Korea and four ahead of Vladimir Issachenko of Kazakhstan.
The medal ceremony over, the 1994 Hiroshima Games gold-medallist dropped a bombshell, saying: “I won’t be shooting for too long now. Two or three years at the most. The officials and the government treat us like useless people. We are asked strange and, sometimes, silly questions by people (government and Sports Authority of India officials) who know nothing about the sport. They don’t have proper camps, no ammunition, no guns, still shooting is bringing home medals.”
“I have all along skipped the national camps. What’s the use of going to the camps where there are no facilities or ammunition? But the last 10 days, I practised very hard with my father (NS Rana) at my home range in Dehradun and that has borne fruit,” he said.
Two bronze medals also came India’s way in the 50m rifle 3-position event, with Gagan Narang, overcoming the disappointment of a poor finish in the 10m rifle, coming third with a score of 1261.9 points.
(Men) Standard Pistol — 1. Jaspal Rana (192, 190, 192 — 574), 2. Park Byung Taek (Kor - 571), 3. Vladimir Issachenko 570); Team: 1. South Korea 1696, 2. India (Jaspal 574, Ronak Pandit 558, Samresh Jung 558 — 1690), 3. Thailand 1686.
50m three position: 1. Zhang Fu (Chn — 1268, 2. Zhang Lei (Chn — 1266.8, 3. Gagan Narang (1162 + 99.9 — 1261.9); Team: 1. China (3494 — Asian Record), 2. Kazakhstan (3457), 3. India (Gagan 1162, Sanjeev Rajput 1154, Imran Hasan 1140 — 3456).