Moldoveanu takes gold as India’s champion crashes


Romanian crack shot Alin Moldoveanu took gold in the Olympic men’s 10m air rifle Monday as India made a rare podium appearance despite seeing their defending champion crash out in qualifying. The bespectacled Moldoveanu did not know he had won the competition at London’s Royal Artillery Barracks after edging world champion Niccolo Campriani into silver medal position, with India’s Gagan Narang taking bronze. Narang’s compatriot, the defending Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra — India’s first ever individual gold medallist — was knocked out in the earlier qualifying round. Moldoveanu, who qualified for the final with an Olympic-record-equalling score of 599, held his nerve during a contest that saw constant flux at the top of the leaderboard to finish strongly and deny Campriani.
He notched a total of 702.1 points, taking advantage of a couple of slips from the Italian (701.5) on shots eight and nine. Ranked a lowly 34th in the world, the 29-year-old eased the pain of Beijing in 2008, where he finished fourth. “I’m overwhelmed. I cannot describe it in words. It’s crazy,” said the delighted winner, adding that he believed it was the Italian coach who first told him he had won. “It doesn’t matter how you are in the world ranking, it’s just the day that matters.” Campriani, 24, was chasing a golden treble in London. The world number one in the 10m air rifle is also entered in the 50m rifle three positions, in which he is also the world number one, and the 50m rifle prone.
But Campriani said the top ranking was no guarantee of success. “If it would be that easy then, as number one in the world ranking, I would wait for the medal back home,” he said.