You could say, it flew away with the flu! Hariom Singh couldn’t have found a more inopportune time to have the flu. Down with fever for the last two days and unable to take the prescribed antibiotics because of dope control measures, Hariom slipped when it mattered most. On Tuesday, he faltered a few times in the 50m Rifle Prone Pairs to not just deny himself a podium finish but have his more illustrious and record-chasing partner Gagan Narang fall short.
There was still cheer for the home crowd at the Karni Singh Shooting Range when, away from the media glare, Heena Sidhu and Annu Raj Singh collected gold in the 10m Air Pistol Pair while world champion Tejaswini Sawant chipped in with a silver. ‘Goldfinger’ Samaresh Jung, who shot down five gold at the Melbourne Games in 2006, could manage only a silver in the 25m Standard Pistol Pairs with Chandrasekhar Chaudhary. Jung was shooting for the first time at the XIX Commonwealth Games here. Samresh and Chaudhary scored 1103 to finish behind gold winners from Singapore - Bin Gai and Lip Meng Poh who shot 1116. England’s veteran shooter Michael Gault and Iqbal Ubhi (1098) won the bronze.
With three medals in the bag,there was huge excitement as fans present walked towards the 50m range awaiting the crowning glory in the 50m Rifle Prone Pairs event. It was not to be as Narang and Hariom fell flat. Slow to press the trigger first time, as always, Narang was his composed self once he got going. He didn’t get a single score of 100 but got a sequence of 99, 99, 99, 99, 98, 99 to total 593 out of 600.
The jittery Hariom, who celebrated his 24th birthday just two days ago, on the far right of the 72-marksmen fleet, was a picture in contrast. He was taking his own time, so much so that Narang after finishing his 60 rounds actually paid a visit to his bay only to return and pack his bags.
Hariom, meanwhile, continued and though he got his best in the last round, his sequence of 98, 97, 96, 96, 94 and 99 just wasn’t good enough. He totaled 580 and India 1173 to finish fourth.