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Silver lining but gold still missing

other Updated: Nov 15, 2010 01:31 IST
Ajai Masand
Ajai Masand
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

India's hide-and-seek with gold at the shooting arena continued on the second day, with the women's 10m air pistol team coming within striking distance before settling for a well-deserved silver at the Aoti Complex on Sunday.

Heena Sidhu — the Delhi Games gold-medallist in team and silver-medallist in individual category — led a determined team, comprising Annu Raj Singh and Sonia Rai, and shot 1140 to give South Korea (1141) a huge scare.

Army marksman, Vijay Kumar, turned in a commanding performance after being down in the dumps, clinching a bronze in 10m air pistol to take the country's medals in shooting to three silver and a bronze. The men's 10m air rifle shooters had earned two silver on Saturday. Vijay, who barely managed to squeak into the finals after firing a dismal 579 in the qualification round, was on fire. He shot the best final-round score of 101.4 to aggregate 680.4, which helped him leapfrog from the eighth to third position.

Both the silver and bronze medal-winning feats were unique, as India have never won a medal in air pistol at the Games.

Speaking about his forgettable sixth series in the qualification round, where he shot a 93/100, Vijay said, "It was a bad score, but once I saw on the electronic board that I had qualified for the final, placed eighth and last, I started focussing on the final. "Coming back from a hopeless situation and clinching a medal makes me very happy. My favourite event is rapid-fire and I hope to do better there," he said.

Lee Daemyung of South Korea clinched the gold (582+110.8=685.8), while Zongliang Tan of China bagged silver (585+99.5=684.5).

For Heena, it was a culmination of the hard work put in before the Delhi Games. Though the silver came in the team event and the other two shooters too deserve credit, it was Heena's score of 381/400 that put India on course for the medal. Annu Raj shot a 380, while Sonia shot 379.

In the individual event though, the trio failed to qualify for the finals.