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Gagan Narang wins India's first gold

October 26, 2003 22:45 IST

Gagan Narang became the proud winner of India's first gold medal in Afro-Asian Games when he won the men's 10m air-rifle event in the shooting competition, which began in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Fifteen minutes after Narang's golden haul, Samresh Jung won the silver medal in men's 50m pistol though after surviving some anxious moments.

As in the past, Jung was under total pressure and his lack of concentration even gave the impression that he would even miss a bronze today.

Narang, a scholarship holder from Indian Airlines, who was included following the withdrawal of ace shooter Abhinav Bindra dedicated his medal in memory of his grandfather R L Narang, who passed away in New Delhi three days ago.

But for the one point lead that he had set up against third-placed Ragal Emara in the qualifying round, Narang would have lost his gold.

The Hyderabad-based Narang, who took to the sport seriously only three years ago, now hopes to carry on his good work.

"I cannot afford to stop here and my aim is to achieve an Olympic quota," he said.

By any yardstick, it was a creditable show by Narang, who was told about his entry for the Games just ten days ago and had returned to the city only last week.

It was tough going for the Indian right through the event as just one point separated him and Mohmed Ismail of Egypt, who was leading after the qualifying event.

Narang, who had shot 592 out of 600 started off with a 9.7 in the final round but was consistent from the second to tenth shot, securing ten plus scores to end with 103.7. He won with a total of 695.7.

Emara, who had ten-plus scores in all ten rounds, also ended the final with 103.7 but settled for the silver with a total score of 694.7.

Ismail, who ended with 694.0 points, clinched the bronze.

The bronze in this event could have come India's way but Sandeep Tarte, who was in the third spot till the seventh shot in the final, could collect just nine points and faded away.

The up and coming Tarte was totally dejected after missing out the bronze medal and ended up fourth with 692.9 points.

In the 50m pistol event, World champion Zongliang Tan of China, one of the favourites to clinch the gold in Athens Olympics next year, was a cut above the rest of the field.

Tan set a whopping 23 points lead when he led with a total of 571 points going into the final. Jung was way behind on 548.

The Chinese never relented and his precision shooting continued in the final as he took the gold with a tally of 667.6 points.

The final saw Tan finishing with 96.6 points and Jung ending up with 93.9. The bronze medal went to South Africa's Francois van Tonder who ended on 640.4 points.

Tonder shot steadily and bridged the gap between himself and Jung from 3.4 points to just 0.5 points at the end of the ninth round.

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