Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and double world record holder Gagan Narang asserted their class winning the air rifle pairs gold at the Dr. Karni Singh shooting range in Tughlakabad on Tuesday.

Narang shot 598 and Bindra 595, as India outclassed the five other teams in the fray, beating England by 19 points, and bettering its own Games' record by four.

Narang summed it up beautifully saying that no competition was ever a cake-walk, and every 10 had to be achieved the hard way. He added that he had five more events to go and he would like to keep it simple by focusing on one at a time, rather than worrying about winning the tag of ‘gold finger' this time.

Narang's target

Samaresh Jung had been named the ‘best athlete' in Melbourne in the last edition in 2006, following a rich haul of five gold, one silver and one bronze. Narang, who had won four gold medals in the last edition, had announced that he was eyeing the honour and would go for six this time, before the Games opened.

“I am happy. There was a lot of expectation. I think I lived up to that well,” said Bindra, who shot his best score of the season.

It will be a dream clash between Bindra and Narang on Wednesday, and both were keen to preserve their energy, to ensure another gold medal for the host.

It was an impressive start for India as the shooters wound up the day with two gold and two silver medals from the four events.

Anisa Sayyed and Rahi Sarnobat won the women's 25-metre sport pistol gold, bouncing back from a five-point deficit at the halfway stage to overwhelm the seasoned Aussies, Olympic and world championship medallist Lalita Yauleuskaya and Linda Ryan, by ten points.

Confident

Anisa asserted that the Indian team was confident of its ‘duelling' prowess in the second half and was sure of overtaking the Aussies for the gold.

Rahi, the Commonwealth Youth champion, shot her best in ‘dueling' with 296, to be the best among all with a total of 584. Anisa had 572

The women's rifle 3-position event saw Tejaswini Sawant and Lajja Gauswami clinching the silver, one point ahead of Scotland, and six points behind Singapore. In fact, Scotland missed the silver as Kay Copland had 9 on the last shot when a 10 would have tied the score, and fetched silver on better count of inner tens.

The pair of Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh was below par and thus missed the free pistol gold by seven points. The duo admitted that they were perhaps affected by the weight of expectations but declared that they would fare better in the individual event.

National coach Prof. Sunny Thomas was disappointed that the two could not strike their normal form to get an average of 550, but conceded that they were not machines to be at their best all the time.

The surprise in the free pistol event was England, with Michael Gault and Nick Baxter, finishing fifth among nine teams, eight points behind bronze medallist, Trinidad and Tobago.

Keywords: CWG shooting