Asian Games: Narang gives India double silver on opening day


Guangzhou: Indian guns blazed on the opening day of the shooting competition of the Asian Games as Gagan Narang won the individual silver in the men’s 10 metre air rifle and combined with Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput to clinch another silver in the team event here Saturday.

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However, there was disappointment in store as Bindra and Rajput failed to make the cut for the finals of the individual event. The duo were tied with three other shooters at 593, but lost in the shoot-off for the final round.

After Narang (597), Bindra (593), and Rajput (593) shot silver as a team with a total of 1,783 points, Narang was left alone to shoulder India’s challenge in the individual event at the Aaoti Shooting Ranges.

Narang, who won four gold medals in the Delhi Commonwealth Games, had a close fight with China’s 2004 Olympic champion Zhu Qinan (104+598) for the gold. The Indian totalled 700.7 (103.7+597) to finish behind Zhu.

South Korea’s Kiwon Kim got the bronze with a total of 700 (596 qualifying, 104 final).

Bindra claimed that problems in electronic scoring cost him a place in the final of the 10-metre air rifle event in the Asian Games here Saturday.

Bindra, who won the Olympic gold two years back in Beijing, said that he shot a nine in the 42nd shot but it was counted as seven.

“I was 100 percent sure that my 42nd shot was a nine, but it was counted as seven. I did not want to lodge an appeal because if I had lost it, the team would have lost two points and also the medal,” said Bindra.

Despite missing the gold medals by a whisker, Narang is happy to have won two silver medals in a tough field that included two Olympic champions.

Narang admitted that it was tough for him to make up for the deficit after the qualifying stage despite the fact that he was leading Zhu after the sixth shot in the final round.

“I am not disappointed at all. Today we won two silver medals and I feel this is a creditable performance in a tough field,” said Narang.

The Chinese team comprising Zhu, Yu Jikang and Cao Yifei won the gold with 1,784 points while South Korea’s Kiwon Kim, Jonghyun Kim and Sungsoon Choi got the bronze with 1,780 points.

In badminton, India lost 1-4 in the men’s competition and their only win came through a gutsy Parupalli Kashyap, who defeated Hsuan Yi Hsueh 18-21, 21-13, 23-21 after saving two match points.

The women’s team lost 2-3 after winning their first two matches courtesy Commonwealth Games gold medallists Saina Nehwal and the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa.

Saina gave India a rousing start beating Adriyant Firdasari 21-16, 21-17 while Gutta and Ponnapa, ranked 31, pulled off a remarkable victory against world no.9 Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari 21-17, 17-21, 23-21.

In billiards, defending champion Pankaj Advani stayed on course for his title defence as he edged past Praput Chaithanasakun of Thailand 3-2 to enter the semi-finals in men’s english billiards competition at the Asian Games here Saturday. Veteran Geet Sethi suffered a shock defeat in the pre-quarterfinals of the same event.

Indian women’s team — Vidya Vishwanathan Pillai, Chitra Magimarajan and doubles pair of Anuja Chandra and Magimarajan — also made it to the quarter-final of the 6-red snooker team event, beating Singapore 3-0.

The Indian women’s hockey had a flawless start as they outclassed Malaysia 4-0 in their first Group A match. Thokchom Chanchan Devi (26th minute), Deepika Thakur (43rd), Rani Rampal (53rd) and Surinder Kaur (67th) scored for India — all of them field goals. India next play Japan Tuesday. The Indian women had won bronze in the previous edition at Doha.

The Indian men’s team advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 drubbing of Qatar while the women were outclassed 0-3 by Indonesia in Asian Games tennis here Saturday.

In tennis, Indian men’s team advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-0 drubbing of Qatar but the women were outclassed 0-3 by Indonesia.

In table tennis, India’s women beat Laos but lost to world champions Singapore while the men put up a valiant fight before going down to fourth-seeded Chinese-Taipei.

Despite the early setbacks, India are expected to reach the quarter-finals in the men’s and women’s team events.