Ace shooter Gagan Narang fetched the first individual medal for the country by bagging silver medal as India launched their campaign in the Asian Games with two silvers on the opening day of competitions which was marked by the controversial elimination of Olympic hero Abhinav Bindra.
Narang, the hero of the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi with four gold medals, claimed the silver in the 10m air rifle individual event and then teamed up with Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput to add another silver in the team event.
Barring Narang's effort, none of the other shooters could make much impression at the Aoti shooting range where Bindra was controversially eliminated in the qualifying stage due to a "technical error" over a particular shot.
The Indian camp cried foul over Bindra's 42nd shot in the 60-shot preliminaries as they felt the Olympic gold medallist had shot nine but seven points were awarded.
"The score given was a 7 but we were quite sure it was a 9. I went to Abhinav who also thought it was closer to 9 but was not sure about it. Had we protested and we would have lost two points as penalty. It was Abhinav's call who had the team's chances also in his mind," said Indian coach Stanislaus Lapidus.
Narang, the lone Indian to qualify for the individual finals, matched China's 2004 Athens Olympic champion Zhu Qinan shot for shot before the latter captured the gold by shooting past his Indian Rival in the last three shots.
The 27-year-old Narang settled for the silver after giving Qinan a run for his money in the ten-shot finals. He tallied of 700.7 points behind Qinan's gold-winning effort of 702. Korean Kim Kwon won the bronze with 700.0.
"I am extremely happy to have carried the Indian flag in the Opening Ceremony yesterday and I am very happy that we have won two silver medals. There are two more events left for me and I am hoping for the best," said Narang who was initially reluctant to be the country's flag-bearer as his event was scheduled early this morning.
Away from the shooting ranges, there was little to cheer for the large Indian contingent with the shuttlers and women tennis players being knocked out in the first round of the team events. All the Indian cylists also fell by the wayside in the track events.
In the team event, Narang, Bindra and Rajput combined for a score of 1783, a point adrift of gold medal winning Chinese team comprising Jikang Yu, Qinan Zhu and Yifei Cao. Korea settled for the bronze in this event.
While Narang shot a score 597, Bindra and Rajput managed identical tallies of 593.