SAG: Chain Singh shoots a second gold

The Indian shooter came through a tense final to take the individual gold medal in the men’s 10m air rifle event.

India's Chain Singh won the 10m air rifle gold.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

It was Chain Singh’s day out for a second time in as many days at the SAA Complex, Kahilipara, on Friday, as the Indian shooter came through a tense final to take the individual gold medal in the men’s 10m air rifle from a star-studded field.

The 26-year-old, winner of the men’s 50m rifle prone title at the expense of fancied Gagan Narang on Thursday, kept his cool even as he was pushed hard by Md. Sovon Chowdhury (Bangladesh), who cracked during the final two rounds of the 20-shot competition.

All eyes were on Gagan Narang, again the favourite, initially, but the 2012 London Olympics bronze-medallist had a wayward final before being left to be satisfied with the bronze medal. This, after the strongly-built 32-year-old had been the top performer in qualification with a tally of 623.2 points ahead of Chain Singh (621.9) and Bangladesh’s Abdullah Baki (621.5).

In the final, it was Baki who led the initial round with a card of 31.5 and was followed by Imran Hasan Khan, the third Indian entrant, Gagan, Chowdhury and Chain Singh. The eventual winner, however, made good of his shaky start (29.7) in the very next round and made clear of his intentions as he stretched his lead in the third and fourth rounds.

Chowdhury, who compiled a total of 617.0 to be placed fifth in the qualification rankings, overtook the Indian Army shooter in the fifth after Chain Singh managed only 9.9 and 9.8 in the two shots of that round. But the Indian held on and finally overtook his Bangladesh rival after Chowdhury suddenly wilted away with a 9.6 and 9.0 in the eighth round which also saw Gagan (182.0) being thrown out of the competition after fighting back from elimination through the earlier two rounds.

Chain Singh who shot 10.7 and 10.3 in the eighth was again very much on the mark as he ensured the title with a 10.5 and 10.1 in the final two shots, compared to 9.8 and 10.6 fired by Chowdhury, with a final total of 204.5 points. Chowdhury who finished second had a total of 203.6.

The Indian shooter was naturally very excited. “I am very delighted with the gold medal. But I am disappointed with my score as I feel that I could have shot much better. The focus obviously from now on will be on the Olympic Games and my aim is to win a medal for the country in Rio,” Chain Singh said.

India also took the gold medal in the team event with a total of 1863.4 points outlasting Bangladesh (1845.8) and Sri Lanka (1827.2) by quite a distance.

In the men’s 25m standard pistol, a non-Olympic event, Neeraj Kumar, with a score of 569 won the gold, while Gurpreet Singh took the second spot with 566 and Mahender Singh the third place with 563. The total of 1698 points also helped India to emerge the winner of the team title ahead of Pakistan (1663) and Sri Lanka (1603).

The results:

Men: 10m air rifle: 1. Chain Singh (Ind) 621.9, 204.6; 3. Md. Sovon Chowdhury (Ban) 617.0, 203.6; 3. Gagan Narang (Ind) 623.2, 182.0. Team: 1. India 1863.4, 2. Bangladesh 1845.8, 3. Sri Lanka 1627.2.

25m standard pistol: 1. Neeraj Kumar (Ind) 569, 2. Gurpreet Singh (Ind) 566, 3. Mahender Singh (Ind) 563. Team: 1. India 1698, 2. Pakistan 1663, 3. Sri Lanka 1603.