Beijing Olympics champion Abhinav Bindra produced some excellent shooting to clinch the gold while London Games bronze medallist Gagan Narang failed to finish on the podium in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event of the Asian Air Gun Championships in New Delhi on Sunday.
32-year-old Bindra, who won gold in 2008 Olympics in 10m Air Rifle event, shot 208.3 to bag the top prize ahead of Kazakhstan’s world number eight Yurkov Yuriy (206.6) and Korea’s Yu Jaechul (185.3) on the first day of competition at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.
Narang, who won a bronze in the same event in 2012 London Olympics, finished fourth with a score of 164.5 while another Indian, Chain Singh was two places below at seventh after notching up 122.7.
Narang started on a good note, shooting 10.6 and 10.6, but fell behind in the following attempts while Chain Singh was out after a shoot-off with Korea’s Kim Dajin.
Bindra, however, maintained his consistency and was way ahead of the rest of the pack when the finals ended.
“A lot of training has gone into it. I am always trying to do the best I can. It may look easy but I can guarantee it’s very, very tough,” Bindra said after his triumph. “It’s always good to win medals. I can’t call it a practice but yes it’s good preparation for Rio Olympics because there were medals at stake. When there is a medal involved we can’t call it practice because there is varying degree of pressure,” he said.
Asked if there’s rivalry with Narang, Bindra responded in the negative. “There is no rivalry with Gagan, it’s only for the media. We are well entertained by our sport,” said Bindra.
India’s rifle coach Stanislav Lapidus was never in doubt about Bindra’s chances in the tournament. “There was no doubt about his result, I was expecting it, but with Gagan, it was different. He is preparing for the future,” Lapidus said.
India won the gold medal in the 10m air rifle team event too with Bindra, Narang and Chain Singh shooting a total of 1868.6.
The Korean team of Kim Dajin, Yu Jaechul and Chain Singh (1859.1) finished second and Saudi Arabia’s Mesfer Abound Alammari, Faiz Anazi Ali and Mubarak Mesfer Aldawsari (1824.8) took the third spot.