Narang bags bronze; first Indian to qualify for London Olympics

New Delhi, July 31: A day after he was overlooked for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, shooter Gagan Narang bagged the bronze in the 10 metre air rifle event at the World Championship in Munich and became the first Indian to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

World No.2 Narang shot 597 in the qualifying and 102 in the final round for a total of 699 to win the bronze. Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra finished a disappointing 25th and failed to qualify for the final round.

The gold went to Italian Niccolo Campriani, who shot a total of 702.5 (599 qualifying + 103.5 final) while Hungarian Peter Sidi bagged the silver with 700.4 points (599 qualifying + 101.4 final).

Narang said that he was disappointed after being left out for the third consecutive time for the Khel Ratna.

‘I was really down after I was overlooked for the third consecutive time. This was a motivation for me to prove myself here at the World Championship. Now I want to know how long should I keep proving myself for the Khel Ratna,’ Narang told IANS from Munich.

National coach Sunny Thomas feels that the bronze was a fitting reply to the awards selection committee, headed by P.T. Usha.

‘Even before the start Narang told me that he was sad after being left out. I told him just to go and bag a medal and show the whole world that he deserves the Khel Ratna,’ Thomas said.

Narang, who is now seen as India’s best bet in the Commonwealth Games, shot the bronze in his pet 10m air rifle event at the Beijing World Cup and qualified for the World Championships.