Manish Narwal and Singhraj Adana clinched a double win for India with gold and silver, respectively in the mixed 50m pistol SH1 event at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Saturday (4 September). Sergey Malyshev of the Russian Paralympic Committee settled for bronze.
Nineteen-year-old Narwal showed nerves of steel to shoot a Paralympic record of 218.2 while 39-year old Adana won his second medal at the Games with a total of 216.7. The latter had also won bronze in the men's 10m Air Pistol SH1 event. This was India’s third gold at the ongoing Games, taking the medal tally to 15.
"I'm very happy. Extremely pleased with the showing. It was an intense contest and to come good was huge,” said a jubilant Narwal.
Adana and Narwal had finished fourth and seventh, respectively, in the qualification round. Though Narwal made a slow start with two poor shots of 7.7, Adana was in the zone straight away with a score of 19.4 after two shots.
By the fifth shots fired, the duo were very much in the reckoning for the podium. Adana and Narwal were both in the top three with scores of 46.1 and 45.4, respectively.
Narwal was a bit wayward in the next two shots and slipped to sixth spot while Adana held on to the third position after seven shots.
"Every shot is very difficult. One shot is very important, so my coach every time says 'Singhraj (Adana), Manish (Narwal), only one shot, one shot fired'.
"The final was very difficult today. I decided (when I was) in third position, Singhraj, good, please, stop, breathe, stop, OK. And one shot, only one shot, please. No other thought, my mind is slow. And go again," said Adana, who was donning his lucky hat 'gifted' by his wife.
With the elimination round already underway, it was a bit of a bother especially for Narwal but he remained calm and composed. By the end of his 12th shot, Narwal had clawed his way to the fifth position with 104.3 points. Adana was consistent enough to hold on to this third position.
Manish Narwal Ⓒ Hiroki Nishioka for World Shooting Para Sport
After the elimination rounds, Adana and Narwal were lurking behind each other on fourth and fifth positions with Malyshev leading, followed by Chinese Lou Xiaolong and Chao Yang in second and third.
In the second elimination stage, the tables were turned with the Chinese duo slipping to the fourth and fifth and Indians Narwal and Adana taking up third and fourth positions.
In the shootout, Yang got eliminated first and his countryman Xiaolong followed two shots later. This left the podium places to be decided amongst the two Indians and the RPC shooter Malyshev.
Malyshev, who till then was sailing smoothly, buckled under pressure and his scores of 6.9 and 8.5 allowed the Indians the window of opportunity they were looking for to seal the top slots.
Dejection was writ wide on the face of Malyshev and he expressed his disappointment by saying: "I was very close to gold, but then I started to get nervous. And then - bronze. I was very close to the medal as well, but unfortunately there was a little bit missing."