Heena Sidhu spearheaded the Indian women's air pistol team to the gold, but Gagan Narang's dream run was halted as the men's prone team failed to land a medal, on the penultimate day of shooting competition in the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday.
The disappointment of Narang losing out on a medal, after he had won eight gold medals on the trot in two editions of the Games, enveloped the Indian camp, but the champion had done his job with a score of 593, second best to Warren Potent of Australia.
However, a sick Hariom Singh was unable to extend suitable support, as he shot 580 that saw the Indian duo missing the bronze by one point, and finishing eight points behind champion Scotland. It may be recalled that Hariom had shot 598 in the world championship to get the Olympic quota place.
“He could not even stand and was shivering. It is tough tell someone not to shoot when he had shot 598'', said national coach Prof. Sunny Thomas.
On the eve of the team event in men's prone, there was indeed an attempt to replace Hariom, recovering from a mystery fever that has eluded detection in all medical tests during the training camp in Pune, but the competition authorities refused to entertain any change. The shooter himself was ready to fight, and in the absence of clear rules, no headway could be made in that direction.
Of course, the day belonged to the 21-year-old Heena Sidhu, a third year student of dentistry, as she shot 384, to clinch the women's air pistol pairs gold in a thrilling fashion for the host. With Annu Raj Singh shooting 375, India was tied with Australia and Canada at 759. Both India and Australia had 21x, the inner 10s taken into account for tie-breaks, and the tie eventually was broken on the count back on the basis of scores in the third series, 192 to 191, in favour of India.
“We had prepared hard for the gold. After an 8 on the 11th shot, I told myself that I could do well in the next 29'', said Heena who had dropped six points in the first 11 shots, in a series of 96, 94, 97, 97. In contrast, Annuraj had dropped seven points on the first seven shots, but recovered despite two 8s to provide the precise support for pinning the gold.
“My focus was not that good in the first series when I had 92. Every shot is important. It happens that some days one is good and other not so good'', said Annuraj.
Samaresh gets silver
In the 25-metre standard pistol event, Samaresh Jung, the hero of the last edition of the Games in Melbourne in 2006 when he won five gold, a silver and a bronze, had to settle for the silver, as his partner C. K. Chaudhary fared below par. Samaresh shot 561, but Chaudhary's 542 saw the Indian team miss the gold by 13 points to Singapore.
“I am not happy with the score. We will train and rectify the mistakes, and shoot better in the individual competition tomorrow'', said Samaresh.
World champion Tejaswini Sawant regained her rhythm to shoot the silver medal in the 50-metre rifle women's prone event, with a score of 594. Jen McIntosh of Scotland topped with a world record score of 597, and finished her match in double quick time.
The Indian skeet shooters, national champion Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Allan Daniel Peoples shot 68 each to be placed 13th and 16th respectively in a field of 29, after three rounds. Cyprus was in the lead.
Keywords: CWG 2010