Kumar beat back the challenge of world champion Alexei Klimov of Russia, the Chinese duo of Ding Feng and Zhang Jian, and German Christian Reitz in the 40-shot final to finish runner-up behind Cuba’s Leuris Pupo, who shot his way to the gold with a world record equalling score of 34.
The 26-year-old army subedar from Himachal Pradesh found the target 30 times out of 40 attempts in the series comprising eight rounds of five shots each.
This is India’s second medal in the current Olympics after fellow marksman Gagan Narang’s bronze in the 10m air rifle event on 30 July. This was also the country’s fourth medal in shooting in Olympic history.
The other medal winners are Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (silver in 2004 Athens) and Abhinav Bindra (gold in 2008 Beijing).
Kumar started with a bang, hitting the target all five times, and kept himself in the hunt for a medal by consistently finding the target.
After a perfect five out of five at the start, Kumar, a double gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, found the target four times in the second and third series, but missed it twice in the fourth.
He came back strongly by finding the target four times in the next three rounds and assured himself of a silver. In the last round, after Pupo shot four to clinch the gold, Kumar seemed to relax a bit and missed three targets.
The bronze medal was won by Feng with a tally of 27.