Pistol deserts Samaresh, finishes ninth in last event
Melbourne, Mar 25: Samaresh Jung's hopes for a sixth gold medal went up in smoke as his pistol deserted him at crucial moments and the Indian finished ninth in the 25th Standard Pistol event here today.
The pistol, which fetched Samaresh five gold, a silver and a bronze, got jammed in the third and sixth series this morning leaving him bewildered at the turn of events.
Samaresh totalled 551 for the ninth slot. The gold was won by Mick Gault of England in the shoot off.
Gault and Pakistan's Irshad Ali were tied at 568 but in the shoot off the Englishman had the better of his rival as he shot 44 while Ali shot 41. Australian Bruce Quick was third with 562.
Another Indian in the fray, Ronak Pandit, shot 557 to take the sixth place.
This was the only event in the men's section of the competition in which India did not win any medal.
The Indians ended the competition with 27 medals -- 16 gold, seven silver and four bronze.
Indian Shooters won two more gold and a bronze to improve upon their 2002 Games tally. In Manchester, they had won 24 medals -- 14 gold, seven silver and three bronze.
Samaresh entered the last day's event with the expectations of equalling the record of Australian swimmers Ian Thorpe and Susie O'Neill of winning six golds.
But that was not too be, if it was luck that deserted him yesterday in the 25 mts centre fire, today his weapon deserted him when he needed it most.
The Indian had a problem with his pistol from the start of this event but he managed to finish the 150-second round with a reasonably good score of 194 (97, 97).
But in the third series of 20 seconds, bullets got stuck in the barrel of his pistol and he missed a crucial point. He had 179 in this round (85, 84) and in the last 10 seconds of the round the bullet got stuck again in the barrel of his pistol in the sixth series. He shot 178 in this round to total 551 (194, 179, 178).
''You can't win every time,'' Samaresh told UNI adding, ''This is all part of the game and these things do happen. But I have one regret that I could have finished these games on a better note.'' Asked to react on missing out on the record equalling sixth gold medals in the Games, Samaresh said, ''I was never bothered about the record. I came here to perform and I gave my best.'' ''I was having trouble with the pistol from the very start. You do get time in the 150 sec to get things set but there is hardly any time in 20 sec and 10 sec rounds and when I got stuck in 20 and 10 sec rounds, I could do nothing,'' he said.
The pistol king with golden fingers, as he has been nicknamed at the ranges said, ''Though I fired slowly in the 150 sec round, I still managed a decent score but there was no chance to recover in the next two rounds.'' ''These are not excuses as, I have said earlier, this is part of the game but I feel end could have been better,'' he added.
Ronak Pandit fired 195 in 150 sec round (98, 97) and had 184 (92, 92) in 20 sec and 178 (89, 89) in 10 sec rounds and finished sixth with a total of 557.
The only Pakistani shooter to win a medal (silver) in the competition Irshad Ali also had a word of sympathy for Samaresh Jung.
''It was his bad luck that bullet got jammed. He has been shooting superbly and I was looking forward for a good contest with him.'' The Games record in this event stands in the name of Indian Jaspal Rana with a score of 574, which he recorded in 2002 Manchester Games.
In skeet, India could not get any medal as Amit Sanghi finished 14th with a total of 113. Yesterday, he had a two round score of 46 (22, 24) and this morning he shot a three round total of 67 (23, 22, 22). The other Indian in the fray, Baba Prithiviraj Singh Bedi, was placed 17th with an aggregate of 112. His first day total was 45 (20, 25) and today he shot 67 (22, 23, 22).
Both failed to qualify for the finals.
Cyprus's George Achilleos won the gold with a new Games record of 148. He shot 123 in prelimanary rounds (48, 75) and shot 25 out of 25 in the final.
Australian Clive Bartone also had 123 (48, 75) but missed the gold by a whisker as he shot 24 out of 25 in the final to end with a total of 147. Canada's Alexander Clayton Miller with 143 (50, 68, 25) earned the bronze.