Trivandrum/Kochi: Vijay Kumar, the 26 year old army shooter from Himachal Pradesh did the nation proud by clinching silver in a very competitive 25m rapid fire event. He scored 30 points to win the silver. The gold went to Leuris Pupo of Cuba who equaled the world record score of 34. Vijay Kumar had earlier broken the existing Olympic record in the second round of the event, before advancing into the final round.
Vijay Kumar now joins as the fourth in an elite list of shooters who have won Olympic medals for India, after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Silver in Athens, 2004), Abhinav Bindra (Gold in Beijing, 2008) and Gagan Narang who won bronze at this Olympics. The Himachal Pradesh government has announced a Rs.1 crore cash reward for Vijay Kumar for making it big in the grand stage.
However, even as the nation celebrated its second medal in the 2012 Olympics, it's hopes on gold took a lethal blow when a fighting Sania Nehwal was outdone by Yihan Wang of China in the badminton semifinals. She would now face Wang Xin of China in the bronze medal playoff.
Meanwhile disappointments continued for India through the seventh day with the hockey team getting knocked out of the tournament by the Germans who muscled a 5 – 2 victory against India. In men's shot put Om Prakash Singh failed to qualify for the final rounds, and neither did Mayukha Johny in triple jump. The 25 m rapid fire pistol, which saw Vijay Kumar win silver, also witnessed the exit of Gagan Narang from the event.
Krishna Poonia became the first Indian to enter the discus finals. A brilliant throw of 63.54m at the qualification event saw her through.
The race is getting intense between China and USA to emerge as the top nation at this Olympics. USA currently leads the table with 21 golds, with China close behind with 20. With the track events underway, USA would be seeking to race ahead of China with its superiority on the track.
In other news, the record-breaking swimmer from USA, Michael Phelps, who has set a new record for winning the maximum number of Olympic medals, has announced that he would be retiring after the London Olympics. 29 year old Phelps has appeared in three consecutive Olympics and has won a record of 17 gold medals, including a clean sweep at the Beijing Olympics where he won gold in all the eight events that he participated in.