Shooters Narang, Rajput fail to qualify again

Beijing, Aug 17: Gagan Narang's nightmarish Olympic campaign ended with another failure as he, along with debutante Sanjeev Rajput, failed to qualify for the finals of the 50m Rifle 3 position event of the Shooting competition here today.

Despite his personal best score of 1168, the Hyderabad based shooter finished 13th in the field of 49 shooters while his compatriot Sanjeev creditable 1162 and ended 26th.The event was won by Ukraine's Jury Sukhorukov who shot 1272.5 (1173, 99.5) while the silver was claimed by Slovakia's Rajmond Debevec 1272 (1174, 98.4) and bronze went to 1271.7 (1176, 95.7).

Gagan's score in the qualifying round was 394 in prone (98, 99, 98, 99), 389 in standing (98, 99, 96, 96) and 384 in kneeling (94, 93, 97, 100).

It was clear that he was let down by his poor showing in kneeling and he candidly admitted, ''Kneeling was his weakest position, if it had had gone well I would have been in final.'' ''But there are no excuses,'' the Indian said, adding that he tried his best.

Sanjev Rajput's score was 395 in prone (98, 98, 99, 100), 380 in standing (95, 96, 98, 91) and 387 in Kneeling (99, 94, 98, 96).

Gagan, who qualified for the Olympics from this event, started poorly missing six targets in the prone position and with the total of 394 was lying at 31st position, but he came back in reckoning after he completed the standing event which took him to the fourth position and excitement ran high in the Indian camp.

But as expected, he did not do well in kneeling in which he missed 16 targets though in the last series he shot a perfect hundred but it was the case of too little too late.

Gagan was frank enough to say that he can no longer blame the luck. ''What I have learnt here is that I will not leave every thing to luck here.'' ''Yes I wanted to win the Medal here, but Olympic is not the end of the road for me. Yes Olympic has an aura and it makes your pulse racing and that is why I wanted to be in finals this time, but that was not to be and you have to live with this fact,'' he addded.

''Today, physically I was unstable, I lost a lot of nines because of lack of proper balance and by the time I realised, it was already very late.'' He did not agree with a question that winning so many medals in the Commonwealth Games made the Indian shooters complacent. ''No competition is easy, be it Commonwealth Games or Asian or World, you have to perform well on every stage.'' He sounded confident of winning a medal in 2012 Olympics saying, ''Age is on my side, I and Sanjeev shot well and given more training and competition, I think we can be among the medal winners four years from now.'' ''I will have to keep myself motivated, why me only, every sportsperson who wants to achieve any thing will have to be motivated.

''It has been a disappointing Olympic but I have tried to take some postives from it and those will help me in future.

''I took the positive out of my loss in the 10m Air Rifle in which I missed the finals by a whisker. One can not keep brooding over what has happened, one has to move on,'' Gagan said.

The 25-year-old computer graduate, was hopeful that Indian shooters, given the exposures they are getting now, will leave their mark in the World for, ''It is just a matter of time but meanwhile, we will have to raise the standard of our domestic competition. The tougher competition back home will keep the shooters under pressure and in the stare of readiness and that will be good for the sport.'' The nine-member shooting squad earned India its first ever individual Gold in the Olympics when Abhinav Bindra won the 10m Air Rifle event.


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Story first published: Sunday, August 17, 2008, 13:32 [IST]
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