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Rathore wins historic silver
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Athens, August 17
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has done it. He not only ended the medal drought for India, but also became the country’s first individual Olympic silver medallist since Independence.

His silver in men’s double trap shooting proved to be a silver lining for Indian sportspersons as for the first three days, medals had eluded them. But the fourth day brought India cheers, leading to celebrations all over, including among members of the Indian community in Athens. Reena Kumari made it to the quarterfinals in archery, defeating Tshering Chhoden of Bhutan in a tie-breaker 7-4 after the two were tied 134 each.

The other archer in the fray, Sumangala Sharma, lost to Kirstin Jean Lewis 153-157.

In badminton, Nikhil Kanetkar lost to Peter Gade of Denmark 10-15, 6-15 in the pre-quarterfinals.

During the first three days of competitions, four Indians — weightlifters Sanamacha Chanu and N. Kunjarani and shooters Abhinav Bindra and Suma Shurur — made the final grade but failed to win a medal.

Thirty-four-year-old Rathore from Jaiselmar, Rajasthan, has thus become the first Indian to win an individual silver medal in the Olympics since Independence. The previous individual medal winners for India had been wrestler K. Jadhav (Helsinki, 1952), tennis player Leander Paes (Atlanta, 1996) and weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari (Sydney, 2000).

“I have done it,” remarked a jubilant Rathore, stating that he had set his “eyes on an Olympic medal long time ago.” A passout from the National Defence Academy, Rathore improved upon his fifth position in the qualification round to second spot with a score of 44 against 45 by the ultimate winner, Ahmed Al-Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates.

Ahmed also equalled the Olympic record with a score of 189 while Rathore finished with a score of 179.

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