Vijay Kumar shot 570 and finished 31st in men’s air pistol on the opening day of shooting competition in the Olympics at the Royal Artillery Barracks here on Saturday.

He had a series of 94, 95, 94, 97, 97 and 93. It was clear that he had a bad start and a bad finish.

He was 13 points short of making the final.

To a great extent it was understandable, as Vijay had been part of the Indian contingent for the athletes parade during the opening ceremony which had dragged on up to 1.30 a.m.

Thereafter, all the athletes walked to the adjacent Games Village, as 80,000 spectators were getting out of the arena at the same time.

Surprising

When someone like Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra refuses to carry the flag, a great honour, as he puts priority for better preparation towards the task of winning an Olympic medal, even though his event happens to be three days after the opening ceremony, it was surprising how Vijay, Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravarthi, who also had a tennis doubles match scheduled on Saturday, opted to go through the tiring exercise.

First gold of the Games

While Indian shooting got off to an indifferent start, China won the first Olympic gold medal in the London Games, as the reigning world champion and world record holder Yi Siling clinched it with a total of 502.9, pipping Sylwia Bogacka of Poland by 0.7 point after both had shot 399 in qualification.

It was double delight for China as Yu Dan won the bronze, 1.2 points ahead of defending champion Katerina Emmons of the Czech Republic.

Sweet recovery

Actually, it was a sweet recovery as Katerina had spoilt the Chinese party in Beijing when she won the gold with a world record.

The Chinese favourite Du Li had failed to win a medal then, though she compensated adequately by winning the rifle 3-position event later in the Games.

“Du Li is still my idol,” said Yi Siling, adding that she felt like a movie star on winning the first gold medal.

Incidentally, Yi Siling followed Abhinav Bindra to hold the World and Olympic crowns simultaneously in the air rifle event.

“I almost cried. From the first series to the last, I didn’t know what I was doing.” she said.

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