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Jaspal Rana’s golden treble
- Hard work has paid off, says emotional pistol shooter after equalling world record
Jaspal Rana with the men’s 25m centre-fire pistol gold in Doha on Friday. Rana battled illness to equal
the world record of 590 set by Afanasijs Kuzamins in Zagreb in 1989. This was his third gold of the
Games. (AFP)

Doha: Pistol shooter Jaspal Rana became India’s triple gold hero in Asian Games on Friday when his world record equalling effort in the 25m centre-fire pistol brought him the third gold medal in two days at the Lusail Shooting Range here.

Rana’s stupendous score of 590 that matched the world record set by Russia’s Afanasijs Kuzamins in 1989, not only earned him the gold in the individual event, but also helped India to finish on top in the team championships. Vijay Kumar and Samresh Jung were the other two members of the team.

Rana’s world record, however, has previously been levelled by four other shooters including Korea’s Park Byung Taek and Jon Yonghe of China. In the team event, India had 1748 points and were followed by the South Koreans, who had a total of 1738 points.

Rana, who has now won four gold medals in the Asian Games, including the one in his favourite centre-fire pistol in Hiroshima in 1994, also joined the elite company of P.T. Usha of having won four gold medals in the continental meet. Usha, however, won all her four golds in one Asian Games — 1986 in Seoul.

The mood of Rana on Friday after winning the gold was completely different than it was when he won the standard pistol gold on Thursday. He then took that opportunity to blast the government and the Sports Authority of India.

But this time his emotions got the better of him. As the large number of Indians present at the venue hugged him and then chaired him for a victory celebration, Rana cried like a child. All he could say with a choked voice was that the hard work has finally paid off.

“Once again I was not well yesterday night, and was running high fever. Like in the standard pistol event, I concentrated on good scores before I went into the rapid round. A good performance, I thought, will fetch me a medal. It happened exactly like that,” he said.

Later, of course, Rana returned to his usual self. “They (officials) called me indisciplined when I refused to come to the camp. But then, why should I go when they have not given me the coach I wanted! I never bothered about what they said about me. Now also I care little.”

In the precision round, Jaspal shot a series of three 98s to reach an aggregate of 294. He was even more brilliant in the duelling event when he shot 100 and then struck two consecutive 98s to aggregate 590.

Among the two other Indians in the fray, Vijay Kumar finished ninth with 580 points, while Samresh Jung once again dished out a poor performance to score 578 points that fetched him the 12th position.As the shooting events in the Asian Games concluded at the Lusail Shooting Ranges on Friday, the Indian shooters certainly lived up to rifleman Manavjit Singh’s claims that this game is now the country’s No. 1 sport. India finished with three gold, five silver and six bronze medals in Doha.

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