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Sport - Asian Games Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Heart-break for Jaspal Rana

By A. Vinod

BUSAN Oct. 7. Jaspal Rana had returned home to a hero's welcome from Hiroshima in 1994. In 1998 at Bangkok, he was considered a trifle unlucky as he settled for silver. But now, the pistol king is sure to go back empty handed from here unless he fares at his known best in the standard pistol competition on Tuesday.

Indeed, Monday was not the best of days for Rana, to whom should be given the credit of providing the sport of shooting with the high-profile image that it has come to enjoy in the country during recent years. And as such, it was all the more heart-breaking to witness the 26-year-old ace shooter struggle to find his wonted form in his pet event, the centre-fire pistol, and eventually finish at a poor joint 10th position alongside China's Liu Yadong.

India's hopes of a third Asian Games medal from the Changwon international range thus was also dead and gone by the time Rana completed his routine. With just a card of 581, almost 11 points shy of what he is usually capable of. Perhaps, he was a bit bothered with his grip but that could never be touted as an excuse especially when competing on a big stage such as this.

That Rana was heading for trouble was evident right from the beginning. Though known for his weakness in the precision (where a shooter gets to shoot six shots in five minutes in each detail) round, the Delhi-based former World junior champion's show was totally disappointing today as he could manage only 288 points out of a possible 300. And this, in turn, was to cost him a medal though Rana expectedly returned a card of 293 (again out of a possible 300) in the duelling round.

His best score in the precision round was 49, achieved in the third and fifth detail. It was 48 each in the first and sixth rounds and 47 each in the second and fourth. Much to the surprise of those around, he had only a poor 45 in the opening detail of duelling (in which a shooter has to complete his shot within three seconds but is allowed a seven-second interval in between) round.

And though he recovered to score a 50, 49, 50, 50 and 49 in the subsequent five rounds and showed his prowess in duelling, Rana's cause was already lost.

In contrast, Manju Patgar, competing at a major international for the first time, should be reckoned to have done well as he finished 13th overall with a total of 577. He had a score of 287 at the first-stage and an equally encouraging 290 in the second.

However, Gangadhar Sharma, the third Indian entrant, was also below-par. Sharma, thus, only managed a joint 26th with a total of 572. His scores were 288 in precision and 284 in duelling. Consequent to this poor show, India was also positioned only a poor sixth in the team event which was won by China with 1747 points. The Indian total was just 1730.

The individual gold in the event was garnered by North Korea's Kim Jong-Su (587), while Lee Sang-Hak (South Korea) took the silver after being engaged in a shootout with Manh Tuong Nguyen of Vietnam. Both had finished with an identical total of 586.

India's bad luck continued in the other events as well. In the 50m rifle 3-position for men, A.P. Subbiah (1142), Charan Singh (1132) and T.C. Palangappa (1132) could help the country finish only 10th in a field of 11.

Individually, Subbiah was placed 19th and Charan Singh and Palangappa joint 29th. The gold for the event went to Turkmenistan's Igor Pirekeev (1175) and the silver and bronze to Park Bong-Duk (South Korea) and Yao Ye (China) respectively. China was the winner of the team gold with a new Asian record of 3472 ahead of South Korea (3470) and Kazakhstan (3452).

South Korea, however, did gain immediate revenge over China winning the women's skeet team gold, creating the second new Asian record of the day. The Koreans had another gold when Son Hye-Kyoung with the help of her better final round score took the individual gold with a tally of 70, having tied with China's Shi Hong-Yan. Kim Yeun-Hee was the winner of the bronze.

Arti Singh Rao, the lone Indian entrant, could finish only sixth with a score of 63 and after a shoot-off with China's Wei Ning.

The show from the Indian men skeet shooters too were disappointing as they were positioned only seventh in the team event with a total of 195 after the first three rounds of competition. Rahul Rai (66) was the leading performer for India, while Naveen Jindal and Harinder Singh Bedi has scores of 65 and 54 respectively.

The results:

Men: 25m centre-fire pistol: 1. Kim Jong-Su (PRK) 587; 2. Lee Sang-Hak (Kor) 586 (shoot-off .245); 3. Manh Tuong Nguyen (Vie) 586 (.244). 10th: Jaspal Rana 581; 13th: Manju Patgar 577; 26th: Gangadhar Sharma 577.

Team: 1. China 1747; 2. North Korea 1746; 3. South Korea 1737. 6th: India, 1730.

50m rifle 3 position: 1. Igor Pirekeev (Tkm) 1175; 2. Park Bong-Duk (Kor) 1160; 3. Yao Ye (Chn) 1160. 19th: A.P. Subbiah 1142; 29th: P.C. Palangappa 1132, Charan Singh 1132.

Team: 1. China 3472 (New Asian Record); 2. South Korea 3470; 3. Kazakhstan 3452.

Women: Skeet: 1. Son Hye-Kyoung (Kor) 70; 2. Shi Hong-Yan (Chn) 70; 3. Kim Yeun-Hee (Kor) 67. 6th: Arthi Singh Rao (63).

Team: 1. South Korea 198 (New Asian record); 2. China 195; 3. Chinese Taipei 170.

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