Jakarta: Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar held their nerves to hand India the first medal of the 18th Asian Games by finishing third in the rifle mixed team shooting event here on Sunday.
The pair amassed a total of 429.9 points after 42 shots in the 48-shot final and were in second spot at one stage. However, the Chinese pair of Ruozhu Zhao and Haoran Yang clawed their way into the second spot for silver with a score of 492.5.
The gold was pocketed by Chinese Taipei’s Yingshin Lin and Shaochuan Lu with an impressive score of 494.1.
“This was our best finish together. Our previous best was fourth place at the World Cup. I’m delighted that we managed to improve on that,” said a jubilant Chandela, who has now set her sight on the 10m rifle event next.
Kumar was also praise for his partner saying, “The bronze medal has come one because of Apurvi. The final was a disappointment after we had a decent qualification. We didn’t get enough time to train together.”
A lot was expected from teen sensation Manu Bhaker, especially after her golden exploits at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. The 16-year-old, who had also won two gold medals at the Guadalajara World Cup earlier this year, failed to rise to the expectations in the pistol mixed team partnering with Abhishek Verma. The duo couldn’t make it to the finals after being tied with Kazakhstan.
Speaking about his ward’s showing, Jaspal Rana, former Olympian and pistol coach said: “Manu clearly wasn’t at her best and did not shoot to her full potential. She was angry and agitated towards the end and that he something she need to control on. Abhishek needs to learn how to cope up with pressure when participating in events such as this. It is new experience for both of the and I’m sure they will learn that with time,” said pistol coach Jaspal Rana.
The biggest setback of the day for India came in the men’s 74kg wrestling when firm favourite Sushil Kumar was shocked by Adam Batirov of Bahrain with a 5-3 score.
Sushil had taken a 2-0 lead but going into the break gave away a point after hitting his rival on the end. That was enough for the Bahraini to pick up his game and he managed a take down to go up 3-2. Despite pressing hard Sushil couldn’t breach lost ground and eventually lost the contest at 5-3.
Later Sushil Kumar, who had won bronze at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, saw his chances of finishing on the podium through a repechage also being completely dashed after his opponent Batirov lost his quarter-final clash to Japan’s Yuhi Fujinami.