Gagan Narang reaches first air rifle final in a World Event after London Olympics bronze effort, misses medal

gagan narang 26New Delhi: In a development which is sure to please fans of Indian shooting, Gagan Narang, the London Olympics Bronze medalist in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle, reached his first Final in the event at a World meet, post that feat, indicating that he is slowly coming back to his best after being laid low and recovering from a neck injury which was impacting his performance in his ‘pet’ event. Gagan finished 5th in the event at the ongoing ISSF World Cup (Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun) being held in Gabala, Azerbaijan. Having qualified for the 8-man final in 8th position, Gagan improved three positions shooting a score of 144.5 in the final rounds. Cao Yifei of China won the Gold with a final round score of 207.4, while Kim Sang Do (206.9) of Korea won the Silver and Petar Gorsa (186.5) of Croatia bagged the Bronze medal.

Former Olympic champion in the same event, Abhinav Bindra finished 14th in qualifying and failed to qualify for the finals. Both Abhinav and Gagan have however secured quota places for Rio 2016 and would not be eligible for any more quotas as a result.

The Indian men’s 50m Pistol shooting troika of Jitu Rai, Prakash Nanjappa and Omkar Singh, looked in ominous form in their respective elimination rounds to comfortably make it to the qualification rounds slated for tomorrow. Jitu, another shooter who has already secured his Rio quota, shot 558 to finish 5th in his round, while both Omkar and Prakash finished 3rd in their elimination rounds shooting scores of 557 and 555 respectively.

In the women’s 25m Pistol event however, the Indian trio of Annu Raj Singh, Anisa Sayyed and Rahi Sarnobat where placed lowly after the precision stage of the event. Annu Raj lay in 20th position with a score of 288, while Anisa was in 49th position with a score of 285. Rahi Sarnobat ended her day in 57th position shooting a score of 284. They move to the Rapid fire stage of the event tomorrow.

In the second medal event of the day, the 10m Air Rifle for Women, all three Indian shooters failed to qualify for the 8-woman final. Pooja Ghatkar shot the best score among the three Indians, finishing with a 413.8 to stand 30th. Apurvi Chandela ended the day in 45th place, having shot 412.6 in qualifications while Ayonika Paul registered a score of 411.2 to lie 57th