India won their first gold medal of the ongoing Hangzhou Asian Games on Monday morning in a category most Indians sport fans have a sentimental spot for - men's 10m air rifle.
The trio of Rudrankksh Patil, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Divyansh Singh Panwar combined to win gold in the men's 10m air rifle team event, ahead of South Korea and China.
Patil and Tomar also qualified for the men's 10m air rifle individual final, to be held at 9 AM IST today. In fact, all three Indians finished in the top eight but as the rule states only two shooters from a country can compete in the final, Panwar missed out.
Patil, who became the world champion last year at only 18, was second in qualification with a total of 632.5 while Tomar was fifth with 631.6. Panwar finished eighth with 629.6.
Team medals are based on the total of each country's shooter's qualification score and India were comfortably in the lead by the midway point and they finished strongly, with a total score of 1893.7.
On Sunday, Indian shooting had opened its account at the Asian Games with a team silver in women's 10m air rifle and 19-year-old Ramita Jindal winning an individual bronze.
On Monday, India did one better by collectively outgunning hosts China. Although two Chinese shooters made it to the finals - Sheng Lihao qualifying on top with a new Asian and Games record score of 634.5, Du Linshu seventh with 630 - it was India all the way in the team competition.
The Indians were steady in the medal position from the start and once China's third shooters' performance started dipping, they climbed up to gold and maintained the lead till the end of qualification.
The men's 10m air rifle team is young but has plenty of experience with former world champion Patil and Tokyo Olympians Panwar and Tomar. It showed in the way they kept pace with the 75-minute qualification and ensured that their score was high enough. Shooting qualifications are not broadcast live but scores showed that the Indians had barely any 9s in their six series, bar one early from Patil. (Rifle is scored in decimals with the highest score being a 10.9)