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Asian Games: Teen shooting sensation Saurabh wins gold; Rajput silver

Last updated on: August 21, 2018 23:19 IST

Saurabh Chaudhary

IMAGE: India’s Saurabh Chaudhary and bronze medallist Abhishek Verma hold up their Asian Games medals. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Saurabh Chaudhary, all of 16, became only the fifth Indian shooter to claim gold in Asian Games history, beating a field of multiple World and Olympic champions in the 10 metre air pistol final, in Palembang on Tuesday.

Chaudhary, competing in his first senior event, showed maturity and calm well beyond his age to snatch the lead from 2010 World champion Tomoyuki Matsuda on the penultimate shot in the 24-shot final.

 

Another Indian making his international debut, 29-year-old Abhishek Verma, scored 219.3 to secure bronze.

Chaudhary, son of a farmer based in Kalina Village in Meerut, aggregated 240.7.

The 42-year-old Matsuda from Japan misfired on the 23rd shot, for an 8.9, to settle for silver. He scored 239.7.

Saurabh Chaudhary

IMAGE: India's Saurabh Chaudhary competes. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Chaudhary also set a Games record with his sensational effort. His last two shots were a 10.2 and 10.4, giving him the decisive lead.

The Japanese's last two shots were an 8.9 and 10.3.

Expectations were high from Chaudhary as he had broken the World record on way to winning gold in the Junior World Cup in Germany a couple of months ago.

But not many thought that he would emulate the golden feat achieved by the likes of Jaspal Rana, Randhir Singh, Jitu Rai and Ronjan Sodhi at such a young age.

"I did not feel any pressure," said Chaudhary, who took to the sport only three years ago when asked about the competition that included Matsuda and Jin Jingoh from South Korea, the multiple Olympic and World champion.

Saurabh Chaudhary

IMAGE: Gold medallist Saurabh Chaudhary of India, silver medallist Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan and bronze medallist Abhishek Verma of India pose with their medals. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

He did not show any sign of nerves even in qualification, held earlier in the day, bossing it with a 586.

Jongoh was second in qualification while Verma finished sixth.

Chaudhary, a student of class XI, will be off to the World Championships after the Games.

He learnt the tricks of the trade at Amit Sheoran's academy at Benoli near Baghpat, 53 kilometers from Meerut. Whenever he is home, he helps his father in the farming business.

"I like farming. We don't get much time off from training but whenever I do, I go back to my Village (Kalina) and help my father," said Chaudhary.

Like Chaudhary, Rohtak-based Verma also took up the sport three years ago.

The 29-year-old lawyer-cum-shooter did begin well but saved his best for the last to win bronze.

"I was nervous in the beginning seeing a field like that. But then I composed myself. It is my first international event and I have won a medal. It feels great of course," Verma, who hails from Rohtak, said.

In the fifth series, he shot a couple of 10.7s to get himself into medal contention. He consolidated from there, producing a solid finish.

He and another teen sensation Manu Bhaker had disappointed in the mixed team event, failing to qualify for the final.

"The fact that Manu and I failed to qualify in mixed team, we were not disappointed. We learnt a lot from that failure," he said about that missed opportunity.

Sanjeev Rajput wins silver in men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions

Sanjeev Rajput

IMAGE: Silver medallist Sanjeev Rajput of India holds up his medal. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Indian shooter Sanjeev Rajput clinched a silver medal after letting slip early domination in the men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions event at the 18th Asian Games.

The 37-year-old shot 452.7 to claim the silver medal, while China's Hui Zicheng won the gold medal with a score of 453.3. Japan's Matsumoto Takayuki bagged the bronze with 441.4.

Rajput dominated the proceedings in the keeling and prone positions. However, an erratic show in the standing round put paid to his hopes of gold.

He recovered from 7.8 in the third series of the kneeling position to end in the top position with a score of 151.2.

Sanjeev Rajput

IMAGE: Gold medallist Hui Zicheng of China, silver medallist Sanjeev Rajput of India and bronze medallist Takayuki Matsumoto of Japan. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Rajput continued his impressive run in prone, leading from start to finish after consistently shooting 10s. He had a total score of 307.1 after 30 shots.

In the standing position, Rajput led after the first series with a score of 355.6 but his slide coincided with Zicheng raising the bar.

Rajput had won the gold medal at the 50m rifle 3 positions in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

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