Army shooter Vijay Kumar wins silver in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol

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vijay-kumar-wins-silverAug 4, London: Indian Army’s marksman Vijay Kumar turned out to be the unlikely hero as he lifted the sagging Indian spirits when he fought a nerve-wracking battle with five other top marksmen to clinch the silver medal in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event at the Olympic Games on Friday.

“It really means a lot, it is my highest achievement to win a medal in an Olympic Games,” Vijay later told reporters. “I have lots of medals but that Olympic medal was missing. Now it is over.”

“This is the karishma (miracle) of the best wishes of my village and residents of my state Himachal Pradesh. I am incomplete without their love and best wishes.” he said.

Kumar beat back the challenge of world champion Alexei Klimov of Russia, Chinese duo of Ding Feng and Zhang Jian and German Christian Reitz in the 40-shot final to finish runner-up in a thrilling finale behind Cuba’s Leuris Pupo who shot his way to the gold with a world record equalling score of 34.

Rapid-fire pistol is considered one of the toughest events in shooting, where competitors have to take five shots within four seconds. Vijay started with a bang, hitting the target all five times in the first round, and was tied for gold till the third round before unfancied Cuban Leuris Pupo hit a purple patch.

The Indian kept finding the target four times in most of the rounds before missing thrice in the last after Pupo, world No. 21, had already sealed the gold. In the end, Pupo notched a record-equalling 34 points out of a possible 40 and Vijay ended with 30, ahead of Feng Ding of China.

What the army subedar — and son of a former subedar —from a Himachal village has also managed to do is break down a gate. Shooting, which has now fetched India four Olympic medals, is seen as an elitist sport and all the three previous medallists came from well-to-do backgrounds.

Kumar, who became the second Indian medal winner at London Games after fellow marksman Gagan Narang, gave cheers to the Indian camp with his splendid performance after badminton hope Saina Nehwal tripped at the semifinals earlier in the day.

Narang, who won the 10m air rifle bronze to open India’s account here on July 30, could not even make the finals of the 50m rifle prone event today, an indication of how tough the competition is at this level.

Kumar started the final with a bang by finding the mark in the first of the eight rounds involving five shots each. He found the target 30 times out of 40 attempts in the series comprising eight rounds of five shots each.

He is the fourth Indian shooter to win a medal at the Olympics, following the footsteps of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (silver in 2004 Athens), Abhinav Bindra (gold in 2008 Beijing) and Narang.

Apart from Kumar, another shooter, Joydeep Karmakar, narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the 50m rifle prone event after setting an Olympic record in the qualifying stage.

Karmakar put his best foot forward to finish fourth with a tally of 699.1, which was just 1.9 adrift of bronze medal winner’s score of 701.0.

After scoring 595 out of 600 and then qualifying for the finals through a shoot-off with eight others, who were all tied in fourth place, the 32-year-old Kolkata man shot consistently well in the finals, but still finished outside the medal bracket.

News Gathered by India News

Posted by on Saturday, August 4th, 2012. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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