India wins mixed air rifle bronze, opens Asiad account

The duo of Kumar and Chandela finished third with a score of 429.9.

Kumar and Chandela entered the final as the second-best team with 835.3.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

India opened its account at the 18th Asian Games with Ravi Kumar and Apurvi Chandela bagging the bronze medal in the 10m mixed air rifle event here on Sunday.

The duo of Kumar and Chandela finished third with a score of 429.9.

Chinese Taipei claimed gold with 494.1, a Games record, while China bagged silver with 492.5.

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Kumar and Chandela entered the final as the second-best team with 835.3.

World Cup bronze medallist Kumar, who is mentored by the great Abhinav Bindra, had won a men’s 10m rifle team bronze at the last edition in Incheon.

Chandela, having won the first Games medal for the country, was satisfied with her performance.

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“Our best finish together was fourth at the World Cup and we have improved on that. My first Asian Games medal and my first medal for India here. I am really happy about that but my focus is on the main event (10m rifle) tomorrow,” Chandela said.

Asked about slipping to the third position in the elimination stage, Chandela added: “This happens in shooting. I think we shot alright.”

Kumar said, “This bronze has come only because of Apurvi. The final was a disappointment after a decent qualification. We didn't get enough time to train together.”

After the first series, India was second with 102.9 while Korea led with 103.4. But the Chinese improved drastically to steal the second spot.

Mongolia was the first to be eliminated, followed by Korea.

Earlier, Kumar and Chandela had finished second in the qualification with a total score of 835.3. Both shooters fired 40 shots each in the 50-minute session.

Bhaker, Verma stutter

However, there was disappointment in store for the pistol mixed team of teen sensation Manu Bhaker and Abhishek Verma, who failed to qualify for the finals after being tied with Kazakhstan.

Both teams were level at 759 points after 80 shots but the Kazakh sealed the fifth and final qualifying spot with more inners 10s than India (25 to India’s 14).

“Manu did not shoot to her potential. She was angry and agitated towards the end. She needs to work on controlling her anger. Abhishek needs to learn how to cope with pressure in big events. It is new for him. They both will learn,” said pistol coach Jaspal Rana.

Bhaker had raised expectations after becoming the youngest Indian women to win a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The 16-year-old had also won two gold medals at the Guadalajara World Cup earlier this year.

Sandhu tops chart

In the men’s trap qualification, the seasoned Manavjit Singh Sandhu topped the first day chart with 72 out of 75, while Lakshay Sheoran was placed fifth with 71 after three out of five rounds.

In the women’s trap, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Shreyasi Singh was second with 71 out of 75, while Seema Tomar came fourth with 71.

The top six qualify for the finals, slated for Monday.

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