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Kumar clinches fifth gold for India in Asian shooting

RAAJIV TRIPATHI

DOHA VIJAY Kumar clinched the fifth gold medal of the Asian Shooting Championship for India, beating some stiff competition from the Chinese and Japanese in the 25m Standard Pistol at the Losail Shooting Range, on Friday.

China had a bit of setback as its women’s team world and Asian record in the 10m Running Target was not recognized due to insufficient number of entries. There should have been at least four or more teams but only China, Qatar and Kazakhstan had fielded the teams.

Vijay, an army man, who has already qualified for the London Olympic Games in the Rapid Fire class, emerged the champion in the shoot-off with Chinese Ying Yongde. After both had collected 572 during the qualification round, Vijay shot 48 in five rounds to win the gold, while Jin could manage only 43. The bronze was claimed by Japanese Tomohiro Kida, who won the three-man tie-breaker with 48.

This is not an Olympic Games event but Vijay must be quite delighted with his success as this is not his favourite event and his opponents, Jin and Kida were also quite strong.

Jin has been a former Asian Games champion (1998 in Bangkok) but in the last two years, he won the silver in the World Championships in Munich and was a bronze winner in the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Kida has also been shooting for a quite long time. He was fourth in the same event in the previous Asians in Kuwait City in 2007. Besides, his best achievement has been a bronze medal in the Rapid Fire Pistol in the Asians in 1995 in Jakarta.

This is his first medal in the Standard Pistol in any major championship for Vijay, who had won three golds and one silver in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and was a silver medallist in the Centre Fire Pistol in the 2007 Asians.

Kang has been rising rapidly in the trap event, though she was a creditable fourth in the double trap in the Munich world championship 2010.

And today’s victory has given her a big boost ahead of the Korean selection meet, to be held shortly.

Beating 2010 World Cup winner Chinese Yang Huan and experienced Japanese Yukie Nakayama was quite demanding. It was her strong performance in the qualification rounds that came handy for the 22-year-old Korean Telecom shooter who fired impressively, missing only two shots in the second series to collect 73. Four out of six finalists had 20 each. But it was Kang’s day today.

“I came here for the gold medal and bagged it,” said Kang with a big smile. “This is my first gold at the Asian level and I’m so happy a selection championship. Now I’ll try to go to the Olympic Games and finish on the podium in London,”said Kang, whose 73 broke the Korean national record as well.

Yang said her last series scores hurt her and the chances to win the gold. “It was tough final. But I felt no pressure. It was my poor scores in the last series which affected my performance.

Otherwise, I’m satisfied and would try to improve myself,” commented Yang, who has been a bronze medallist in the 2010 Asians in Bangkok.

Japanese Yukie also shot below her level as she has been Guangzhou Asian Games champion. She had also won the Asian title in Singapore in 2006, which was followed her victory in the World Cup in Changwon in 2007.

India dominated the 25m Standard Pistol for junior men with Ajitesh Kaushal leading a superb 1-2-3. RE

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