Vijay Kumar wins silver in 25m rapid fire pistol event

LONDON: Indian shooter Vijay Kumar clinched the silver medal in the 25-metre rapid fire pistol event at the 2012 London Olympics.

The gold went to Cuban Leuris Pupo while Chinese Feng Ding got the bronze.

Cuba's Leuris Pupo hit 34 of the 40 targets to finish ahead of Vijay Kumar in second with 30. Feng Ding of China was third on 27 before being eliminated after 35 shots.

Stuck to my plan: Vijay Kumar
Photos: Pistol shooter Vijay Kumar wins India a silver
Russian hand in shooter Vijay's Olympics success

The 26-year-old army subedar from Himachal Pradesh fought stiff competition from five other top marksmen to finish second in a thrilling finale after he found the target 30 times out of 40 attempts in the series comprising eight rounds of five shots each.

He threw both hands in the air and pumped his fists as he was welcomed on to the podium to collect India's second shooting medal of the Games.

There was big disappointment for Russian Alexei Klimov who had scored 592 to improve his qualifying world record mark by one but was eliminated in fourth place after hitting 23 of 30 targets.

China's world number three Zhang Jian was another to make an early exit, finishing fifth after hitting 17 of 25 targets.

In the qualifying round, Vijay clocked 585, finishing fourth, with stage scores of 293 and 292 at an average of 9.750 at the Royal Artillery Barracks.

Vijay Kumar's father said his son had promised him a medal before he went into the finals of the 25-metre rapid fire pistol event at the London Games.

"I spoke to him before the finals and he sounded calm. He told me he will get a medal today. He was not sure which one but he said he will get one for sure," Vijay's father told IANS.

"His hard work has finally paid off. I was certain he would get a medal."

"I never thought he would reach this level. My happiness has no bounds," he said.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal also announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for the shooter minutes after his podium finish.

Joydeep Karmakar, who himself came tantalisingly close to a podium finish before settling for fourth place in the men's 50 metres rifle prone, said their show in London proved the great potential India had in the sport.

Vijay Kumar made up for the disappointment of failing to qualify for the men's 10m air pistol finals after he finished 31st in the qualifiers.

The army man was riding high on confidence having won a gold in the Asian Shooting Championship in Doha this year in the standard pistol event.

This is India's second medal in quadrennial event after Gagan Narang won the bronze in the 10m Air Rifle event on July 30.

Vijay won three gold and one silver medal in the Commonwealth Games. He had won two bronze at the Guangzhou Asian Games and two silver medals in the last three years at the World Cups.

Vijay is also the second Indian after double trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to win an Olympic silver medal. Rathore won the maiden Olympic silver for India in 2004 Athens.