New Delhi: Gagan Narang finally proved himself as country’s top rifle shooter when he beat Indian Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra to win the 10m air rifle gold in the Commonwealth Games, on Wednesday.
So impressive was Narang’s show that Bindra himself heaped praise of his compatriot who started the gold medal streak for India in CWG after the 10m air rifle event. “Gagan is outstanding, one of the best in the world. I am sure he will win many more international competitions, the World Championship and an Olympic gold medal as well,” Bindra said in the post event interview.
Narang in return to the compliments said: “When I was trying to get into shooting, I had heard a lot about Bindra who was already there. There is a lot for us to learn from each other. It’s always nice to compete with a great shooter, someone who’s an Olympic champion.”
While Gagan won the clash of titans, Indian shooters once again dominated the field, winning three gold and three silver medals to add to their overnight tally of two gold and two silver. The second gold of the day for India was won by Anisha Sayed in the 25m women’s pistol event. Omkar Singh wrapped it up with a gold in the 50m pistol event.
Shooters continued the winning spree, with junior world champion Asher Noria and world No. 3 Ronjan Sodhi teaming up, to net the silver in the men’s pairs double trap. Rahi Sarnobat also bagged a silver in the 25m women’s pistol event. Ronjan Sodhi also won a Silver for India in the Double Trap shooting and Noria finished on the 4th spot in the Tie breaker round.
On Wednesday, with a capacity crowd watching the battle between two of the world’s best shooters with bated breath, Narang won the gold in style. By doing so, he bettered his own world record of 703.5 at Bangkok World Cup final in 2008 and CWG record in Melbourne, four years ago.
The record, however, will not be taken into consideration by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) as it only recognises records set at the Olympics, World Cups, World Cup finals and World Championships.
ISSF delegate David Parish said he was waiting for a clarification whether Narang’s performance could be considered a world record. “Narang has broken his world record, but it won’t be counted because the Commonwealth Games is not recognised by the ISSF. I still have to get a clarification from the ISSF,” Parish said.
Narang, who equalled his own world record in the qualification round with a perfect shot of 600, went on to score 103.6 in the final round, leaving Bindra 698 points ( 595+103) behind. The bronze medal went to EnglishmanJames Huckle 693.5 ( 591+102.5)
“It was a great feeling to perform so well at home. I would try to keep performing the way I have done here,” said Narang.
Bindra said: “I am happy with my performance in the Commonwealth Games and it feels good and Gagan too has been very consistent in the last 3-4 years.”