Today's events were the Men's 10m Air rifle and women's 10m Air Pistol. Few Indians were in action, and from the "Trust's" point of view notably Abhinav Bindra.
The day started at 6am which is when he left for the range. By the time i got there at 7.30am all were standing on the firing line ready to go... and it all began at 8am.
For those who have never been to an Air rifle match (that will be a lot of you) imagine being in a movie hall with deafening volumes of the dolby surround soud system, then imagine the plug being pulled on the system and that sudden silence where you can even hear the seats breathing... now throw in the popcorn machine making the noise it does.... that is the feeling you get in an Air Rifle match arena.
Now the format...there are 2 groups of 55 shooters who shoot one after the other and the top 8 make the final. We had Gagan and Abhinav shooting in the first group followed by Raghu and S. Rajput in the second. Each shooter shoots 6 rounds of 10 shots each.
It wasn't an ideal start for Abhinav shooting a 98 (which is 8 of 10), followed by another 98 and for those of you referencing with Kamesh he will tell you that is not the best of starts. It looked like Abhinav was in a bad mood and basically very unhappy.... he later told me that is how he is all the time. Anyway he then shot a 100,100,100 and 99, which gave him a final score of 595. He managed to be second out of the group but still had to see how the other group scored to know if he would make the final.
He described his performance as sheer determination and power that got him through and said it was more a boxing match than a shooting one. He was having a horrendous day and it was only his strong mind that got him through.
The other group started right after and i can't give you any details since i wasn't really watching but when the dust settled India had two people in the final, Abhinav and Rajput. So that was heartening....
Going into the final (which is 10 shots on command) Abhinav and the other Indian faltered out of the start which quickly took them out of medal contention. Abhinav managed to recover at the end with a 10.8 which was a good finish to the tournament. I think he finished 7th but on the whole a remarkable performance after a 6 month lay off and only his third tournament back.
It is very clear to see why he is such a champion and so well regarded, his attention to detail concerning his sport is phenomenal. He is very clear with not only his goal but also the road he wants to take to the goal. It is one step at a time with each step being ahead of the last and they are all leading to the top of the podium at the Olympics....
Now off to dinner, followed by tomorrow which will be the girls day out... Women's Air Rifle starts at 9am with Suma, Avneet and Anjali in action. Lets hope we can bring home some silverware...