Abhinav Bindra wins gold in Asian Shooting Championship

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Abhinav Bindra
Doha, Jan 13: Abhinav Bindra shrugged off a bout of flu to clinch the gold medal in 10-meter air rifle event of the Asian Shooting Championships, which got underway here today.

The Beijing Olympics gold medallist came through after a nerve-wracking final to pip another Olympic champion and reigning Asian games gold medallist Zhu Qinan of China.

Bindra, who had never won a gold in this tournament, started the qualification with a perfect series of 100.

That was followed by series' of 99 100 98 100 and 100 to finish with 597/600, just one point behind joint leaders Qinan and world champion Wang Tao of China.

He could have ended with the lead but for an 8 in the 4th series. However, he recovered well to end on a high. At times he was struggling with his health and was coughing and he even had to step back from the firing point to regroup on a couple of occasions.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Gagan Narang recovered from a disastrous start to also make the final with a qualifying score of 595.

Narang started with a 97 in his first series and a 99 in his second. He then reeled of 3 perfect series' of 100 each before shooting 99 in the last series.

The third Indian in the fray, Satyendra Singh had an off day, shooting a below par score of 582/600. The combined total of the 3 shooters gave India the silver medal in the team event behind the Chinese team that created a new world and Asian record with a total of 1793/1800.

Bindra started the 10 shot final with 10.7 to put the pressure on the Chinese shooters. His second scoring shot was a 10.8 which was matched by both Narang and Qinan.

Bindra moved into the lead after the 3rd shot where he shot 10.6 while Qinan managed 10. But Qinan stormed back with a series of precise shots that saw him regain the lead.

However, two consecutive shots of 9.8 in the 8th and 9th gave Bindra the opportunity to close the gap. He responded with 10.3 and 10.5 to go into lead. He held a lead of just 0.1 with the gold medal at stake and shot 10.5 to put the pressure on Zhu who was the last shooter to fire.

Zhu could manage only a 10.3 which sparked off the celebrations in the Indian camp. Bindra's final tally was 701.1 while Qinan finished with 700.8. Tao who started the final badly came back well to clinch the bronze with a combined total of 699.7.

Narang finished with a score of 698.2. Incidentally, Bindra top scored in the final with 104.1, while Narang was second with 103.2

Ruslan Ismailov of Kyrgistan and Bayara Nyantai bagged the two Olympic quota places on offer after finishing 6th and 7th respectively. The top four shooters had already won quota places for their countries making them ineligible.

Speaking after the competition Bindra said, "It was a good result. It doesn't help me but it does not hurt me either."

His coach Heinz Reinkemeier was more forthcoming on the win.

"I am happy with the win. We are building up towards London 2012 and this is exactly the result we wished for. We are satisfied with the outcome. We do not focus just on the result, we look at other factors like performance. I enjoyed the technical skills and the timing .

Commenting on Bindra's health, he said, "If a shooter has a problem then it is good. One has to learn to shoot under pressure. A cold takes around 7 days to complete a cycle and Abhinav was just about over the hill when the competition started this morning. Unlike sports like tennis and football in shooting you can manage despite not being 100 percent fit.

PTI

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