Jitu Rai prevented a Chinese medal sweep in shooting yesterday, giving India its first gold of the Games by snatching the men’s 50m pistol individual title in a dramatic finish.
The 27-year-old non-commissioned officer in the Indian army trailed Vietnam’s Nguyen Hoang by 0.2 points with just one shot remaining to decide the winner.
Nguyen managed a score of 5.8 before Rai kept his cool to seal the title with a shot of 8.4 amid loud claps from the stands.
Rai finished with 186.2 points and Nguyen 183.4. Wang Zhiwei of China claimed the bronze with 165.6 points.
“Winning an Asiad gold had always been on my mind, so obviously this is just great,” said Rai, whose last six world-level finals this year have either produced a gold or a silver.
Rai will next compete in today’s 10m event.
Earlier in the day, unheralded Zhang Mengyuan stunned hosts South Korea as China grabbed three of the four shooting golds.
Zhang, who finished 20th in the women’s 10m air pistol at this month’s World Championships in Spain, beat Korean favourite Jung Jee-Hae into second spot in the individual event after helping China win team gold.
China claimed the first ever gold medal of the Incheon Games when the women’s 10m pistol shooters combined to snatch the team gold ahead of defending champions South Korea who wound up fourth.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye opened the Incheon Asian Games at a glittering, K-Pop inspired ceremony yesterday.
Athletes from 45 countries filed into Incheon’s purpose-built main stadium, where a performance by ‘Gangnam Style’ singer Psy concluded the spectacle, heralding the start of 15 days of action with 9,500 competitors.
The UAE have sent 81 athletes to the Games where the Emiratis will today take on China in their Handball Group C opener.
Abdulla Al Hammadi begins his fencing campaign in Pool E of the Men’s Epee Individual Preliminaries, while Hamad Al Kendi, Walid Al Aryani and Abdulla Al Falasi will line-up for Trap shooting qualification.
In football, the UAE lost 1-0 to Jordan on Thursday.
After beating India in their opening match, the Whites will have to wait for the result of the clash between Jordan and India on Monday to confirm their spot in the last 16.