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Abhinav Bindra poses with his gold medal at the podium after Men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: PTI
Abhinav Bindra poses with his gold medal at the podium after Men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: PTI

Abhinav Bindra clinches gold, Malaika Goel wins silver in shooting

It is Bindra's first individual gold medal at the Commonwealth Games

Glasgow, Scotland: That ice-cool demeanour seemed to have thawed just that little bit as Abhinav Bindra walked off the Pistol Range at the Barry Buddon Range, which is across the road from the world-famous Carnoustie Golf Course, with a slight fist pump, a smile and a gold medal in the 20m Air Pistol. It was his first individual gold medal in five appearances at the quadrennial Games, where he made his debut as a 15-year-old in Kuala Lumpur.

A little before Bindra’s gold, 16-year-old Malaika Goel won her biggest medal in the senior section, stunning the field with a silver medal in 10m Air Pistol. She lost to Singaporean Shun Xie Teo by a now 1.5 margin, as her 17th and 19th shots let her down with 9.2 each. She totalled 197.1 to Teo’s 198.6, a Games record.

The more favoured Indian in the field, former World No. 1 Heena Sidhu ended seventh as she just could not get going in the final.

The gold from Bindra and silver from Goel brought the Indian total to three gold, four silver and two bronze and are now in fourth place, behind England, Australia and Scotland. India are bound to raise their tally with weightlifting events scheduled later this evening.

After the gold medal was secured, Bindra took a good-humoured shot at reporters, joking “Journalism is an easy job, I may become a journalist after my shooting career."

He added, “This is my last Commonwealth Games. Five CWG and nine medals." That includes five gold. “It is enough for me."

Though his twitter handle says, ‘2016 Olympic medal wannabe’ Bindra, when asked about Rio Olympics in 2016, he said, “I will take on thing at a time. I will decide later."

Very clearly, Bindra wants to take it one step at a time and parried away questions on the Rio Olympics. He said, “I will relax a bit and then focus on the World Championships a few months later."

On his Friday’s performance, he said, “It was a well-earned medal because I work hard and I am happy to have achieved the feat. I got the desired result," he said.

He did feel bad for compatriot Ravi Kumar who finished fourth and missed out on a bronze in a shoot-off. “Ravi is a talented shooter. His future is bright and he will do well for the country. I have not spoken to him after the event but definitely I will speak to him and encourage him."

Bindra started slowly but picked up momentum as the closing stages approached. He was as much as 2.7 points ahead when it was time for the last shot to decide the gold medal between him and the Bangladeshi Abdullah Baki.

A few minutes before Bindra wrapped his gold—his fifth in CWG—India’s other shooter in the event, Ravi Kumar, was edged out in the shoot-out for the bronze. It was indeed heart-breaking for Ravi, who actually held a handy 1.3 points lead over Bindra, who was in second place at that stage after 12 shots. Ravi was still first after the next two shots despite 9.9 in the next set of two.

What actually triggered off his collapse was the next set of two shots with 9.1 and 9.9. Bindra with 10.1 and 10.5 moved into the top spot, which he did not relinquish and kept extending his lead till the very end.

After 16 shots, when it was time to eliminate the fifth shooter from the eight-man final, Ravi was found wanting and lost out and ended fourth.

Daniel Rivers of England, who took the bronze, was the next to go out, leaving the gold medal race to Bindra and Baki. Bindra was already 2.5 points ahead and with his 19th shot he extended the lead to 2.7 points and his final shot of 10.6 outclassed Baki’s 10.1 and the Indian was a victor by a whopping 3.2 points.

All of Bindra’s previous gold medals at Commonwealth Games have come in Pairs. He won the Pairs gold with Gagan Narang twice—in 2006 and 2010—and in 2002 he won it with Sameer Ambekar. In 2006, he also paired with Narang in 50m Rifle 3-Positions. He won two silvers in 10m Air Rifles individual (in 2002 and 2010), a silver in 50m Rifle 3-Position individual (2006) and a bronze in 10m Air Rifle in 2006. He had no medals in 1998.

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