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11-08-08, 15:50
Bindra claims India's first gold

Abhinav Bindra beat Olympic champion Zhu Qinan to the gold
Abhinav Bindra became India's first individual Olympic gold medallist when he claimed the men's 10m air rifle shooting title on Monday.

Athens Games champion Zhu Qinan of China won the silver and Henri Hakkinen of Finland took the bronze medal.

Bindra finished with 700.5 points, to edge out Zhu who had 699.7 points for the silver. Hakkinen got the bronze with 699.4.

Britain's Jonathan Hammond could only manage a lowly finish of 29th.

"It can't get better than this, can it?" said Bindra.

"I know India was waiting for this for a long time and so was I.

"I narrowly missed a medal at Athens so I knew I would be in with a chance if I focused on the job."

India, winners of eight field hockey gold medals, had never won an individual Olympic title before Bindra's feat.

The previous best was trap shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore's silver at Athens, while there were bronze medals for wrestler Khasaba Jadhav (1952), tennis star Leander Paes (1996) and woman weightlifter Karnam Malleswari (2000).

Indian Sports Minister Manohar Singh Gill said Bindra's performance would inspire the nation to more glory.

"This is going to give a huge incentive in going up further and becoming a dominant (sporting) power," he told Indian TV.

"We've won hockey golds in the past but the individual gold is going to give a huge fillip to all our sports. The boys and girls will run that much faster and jump that much longer."