Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra fired India to the men’s team bronze in the 10m air rifle event while booking his berth in the eight-man finals with the fifth-best score in the qualifications on Day 4 of the Asian Games.
The Indian team comprised of Bindra, Ravi Kumar and Sanjeev Rajput which tallied 1863 to finish third behind gold medal winners China 1886.4 and South Korea (silver) at 1867.6.
Bindra tallied 625.4 points while Ravi Kumar contributed 618.9. Another veteran Sanjeev Rajput scored 618.7. Bindra was shooting brilliantly after a modest beginning and but for his two poor shots of 9.1 on the 55th and 9.7 on the 60th could only finish 5th in the qualification as fourth-placed Korean Kim Sengdo fared only marginally better at 626.1.
Bindra’s sequences after each set of 10 shots were: 102.6, 105.3, 104.5, 104.1, 105.7 – during which period he was looking at peak form but for the sudden misfiring on the 55th shot– and 103.2.
This was the fifth medal fetched from the Ongnyeon range by the shooters in these Games, comprising one gold and four bronze, men’s pistol shooter Jitu Rai’s title win being the stand-out performance.
The top three scores were notched up by Chinese shooters led by Cao Yifel (630.7), a new Games record. In the individual list, Ravi Kumar finished 20th and Rajput stood one rung below to be eliminated.
Bindra, who was just outside the top eight after the first series, got into his groove later and after the fourth set of 10 shots took a break to have a chat with rifle coach Stanislav Lapidus for a brief while after shooting 10.9 on the 40th shot.
He immediately came up with successive scores of 10.6, 10.7, 10.6 and 10.3 and was going great guns only for the 9.1 effort spoiling his efforts.
But he took a deep breath, got his thoughts together and shot 10.1 on the 56th before coming up with successive high scores of 10.9 and 10.8 followed by 10.5 and then 9.7 on his last shot after taking inordinately long to shoot.