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Jaspal Rana clinches gold

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Last updated on: December 07, 2006 16:44 IST

Jaspal Rana repeated history, clinching gold medal in the 25m standard pistol competition as India won its first shooting title at the Asian Games after a gap of 12 years, in Doha on Thursday.

The 30-year-old marksman culled 574 points to earn India its fourth gold medal at the Games.

India started the penultimate day of the shooting competition in style, winning the individual gold and team silver in 25m standard pistol competition at the Luail range.

Jaspal thus regained the title he won at Hiroshima in 1994.

"It was simply a great display of concentration, determination and will power," said an elated coach Sunny Thomas.

"Jaspal has done India proud, like he had done in Hiroshima 12 years ago," he added.

However, India missed the other gold in the event as off-colour Ronak Pandit and Samresh Jung pulled down the total with their lacklustre display.

"Pandit and Jung, the two talented shooters, have been totally off-colour in this competition; they are capable of scoring above 570 each but today they shot 558 each and we lost the team gold by six points," Thomas said.

Though 25m Standard Pistol is not an Olympic event, there was still tough competition for the Indian.

Jaspal shot 192 (96,96) in 150 secs series, then in 20 sec series he had a score of 190 (94,96) and in the last 10 sec series he shot 192 (94,98) to total 574.

Though the score fetched Rana the gold, it was not his best performance.

He had shot 588 in Hiroshima, 589 in the 1998 Bangkok Asiad to earn a silver and 581 in Busan, where he had finished 10th.

However, he equalled his World Championship score of 574 which he had at Zagreb.

''Ïts a great feeling to win a gold for the country and for me it is a moment to relish and enjoy as I have regained the title after 12 years. I am very excited and thrilled that I have again won a final for my nation,'' a delighted Jaspal said.

Jaspal incidentally is only the second shooter to have won gold in the Asian Games -- the other being Randhir Singh, who is now secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association.

''The conditions were not favourable for a big score but I was focussed and determined to do well,'' Jaspal said.

The silver was claimed by Korea's Park Byung Taek who shot 571(193,187,191) and Kazaksathan's Vladimir took the bronze with 570 (192,188,190).

Two other Indians in the field -- Ronak Pandit and Samresh Jung -- shot identical scores of 558 and were placed 18th and 19th respectively.

Pandit shot 192 (97,95) in 150 sec series, followed by 183 (88,95) in 20 sec and 193 (91,92) in 10 sec series.

Jung scored 188 (96,92) in 150 sec series and he followed it by 190 (97,93) and 180 (90,90) in 20 sec and 10 sec series.

Both Pandit and Commonwealth Games hero Samresh Jung had a forgetful Asian Games. They flopped in all the events they took part in.

The team gold went to Korea with a total of 1696, followed by India, who totalled 1690 and Thailand (1686).