Jakarta: Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar gave India the first medal of 18th Asian Games when they finished third for a bronze medal in the 10m Mixed Air Rifle event at Palembang on Sunday.
Shooting, which otherwise is India’s preserve, generated a lot of controversy over the selection of shooters following country’s splendid show at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The first medal from shooting should put to rest the unwanted bickering, but the failure of Manu Bhaker to strike a medal alongside Abhishek Verma in the Mixed Air Pistol event would again stoke the fire if the youngster struggles over the next few days.
India’s shooting campaign began on a disappointing note when the Mixed Pistol pair of Manu and Abhishek failed to qualify for the final after being tied with Kazakhstan.
They had finished second in the qualification with a total score of 835.3. Both shooters fired 40 shots each in the 50-minute session before making it to the final as the second best team.
World Cup bronze medallist Ravi, who is mentored by Abhinav Bindra, had won a men’s 10m rifle team bronze at the last edition in Incheon.
After the first series, India was second with 102.9, while Korea led with 103.4. But the Chinese improved drastically to steal the second spot. Mongolia was the first to be eliminated, followed by Korea
Chinese Taipei claimed gold with 494.1, a Games record, while China bagged silver with 492.5.
Ravi was candid to admit: “This bronze has come only because of Apurvi. The final was a disappointment after a decent qualification. We didn’t get enough time to train together. Apurvi expressed satisfaction after winning a bronze.
In the mixed pistol event, India and Kazakhstan were level at 759 points after 80 shots, but the Kazakh pair sealed the fifth and final qualifying spot with more inner 10s than India—25 to India’s 14.
Manu Bhaker had raised expectations after becoming the youngest Indian women to win a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The 16-year-old had also won two gold medals at the Guadalajara World Cup earlier this year.
“Manu did not shoot to her potential. She was angry and agitated towards the end. She needs to work on controlling her anger. Abhishek needs to learn how to cope with pressure in big events. It is new for him. They both will learn,” said pistol coach Jaspal Rana.