SAG shooting: Chain Singh completes a treble

Chain Singh won the 50m rifle three-position event in a canter, upsetting his seasoned team-mate Gagan Narang with a commendable total of 453.3 points.

Chain Singh celebrates after winning the men's 50m rifle three-position gold.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

In the months ahead, we are sure to follow the progress of Chain Singh. The 26-year-old Army shooter, who has been in such roaring form since the 35th National Games in Thiruvananthapuram last year, once again proved that he was the man to beat, as he won his third individual gold medal of the 12th South Asian Games at the SAA Complex, Kahilipara, on Sunday.

As in the finals of the 50m rifle prone and 10m air rifle events, Chain Singh won the 50m rifle three-position event in a canter, upsetting his seasoned team-mate Gagan Narang with a commendable total of 453.3 points.

It is true that he did not enjoy the best of starts in the first series of kneeling position, but Chain Singh quickly adapted to the conditions and thereafter never looked back. He was calm and focussed right till the end.

With a total of 1170, it was Chain Singh who led the eight finalists from among the 12 that took part in the qualification. Narang was second with 1167, ahead of Surendra Singh Rathod (1153). India took the team gold as well with a tally of 3490 points. Sri Lanka (3431) and Bangladesh (3398) took the second and third spots.

In the final, Sri Lanka’s H. D. P. Kumara led initially before Chain Singh came up with a brilliant show in the next two rounds of the same series. The Doda-born marksman had a good 9.2 points lead over Narang, as the shooters went into the prone position.

Narang too staged a terrific comeback by overcoming an indifferent start. As the match progressed, it looked as if India was well set to make a clean sweep of the individual medals when Rathod joined Chain Singh and Narang at the top after the prone round.

However, Rathod was unable to maintain the same form in the standing round. Managing just 43.1 in the second five shots, he dropped down to seventh position. Narang won the silver medal – his third at the Games – with a total of 450.3 points, while S. M. M. Samarkoon (Sri Lanka) settled for the bronze with 430.9.

Reflecting on his performance over the last four days, the genial Chain Singh said that not much should be read into his three straight victories over Narang. “I was here with the sole purpose of improving. It certainly gives me joy that I have won three gold medals as it has now given me immense confidence to shoot well in the World Cups in the next few weeks.”

Narang too felt that his participation in the South Asian Games would stand him in good stead for the challenges ahead. “I was basically here to get a feel of the pressure of competing in three finals so as to prepare myself for the major events. I think that now I have a clue on the areas that require improvement, and as such, I am satisfied with my performances,” he said.

In the 25m rapid pistol, the first stage of which was gone through during the day, Mustafa Ghulam Bashir (Pakistan) led the field with 291 points. Close on his heels was Gurpreet Singh (290). Akshay Suhas Asthaputre and Vijay Kumar were placed third and fourth among nine shooters with 285 and 283 points respectively.

The results:

Men – 50m rifle three-position: 1. Chain Singh (Ind) 1170, 453.3; 2. Gagan Narang (Ind), 1167, 450.3; 3. S. M. M. Samarkoon (SL), 430.9. Team: 1. India 3490; 2. Sri Lanka 3431; 3. Bangladesh 3398.