Sixteen-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary has stunned seasoned campaigners to win a gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event at the 2018 Asian Games. Showing nerves of steel, he went past Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda, setting a new Games record of 240.7 in the final on Tuesday.
India’s Abhishek Verma bagged the bronze medal with 219.3 points.
Matsuda, a two-time shooting world champion, led for most of the final round but eventually finished with 239.7 points. Chaudhary shot brilliantly in the last two shots with scores of 10.2 and 10.4 to take the top position.
Saurabh Chaudhary is the first Indian to win an Asian Games gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event. He had earlier topped the qualification round, finishing ahead of former Olympic champion Jin Jojngoh from Korea.
Abhishek Verma’s bronze medal winning performance is no less commendable. A qualified lawyer, he took up shooting as a professional sport only a few years ago. This is the major international meet that he is participating in.
A Successful Run
The teenager had come into the Asian Games fresh from his success at the ISSF Junior World Cup held in Suhl, Germany, in June this year. He not only won the gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event; he set a new junior world record of 243.7 after 24 shots.
Saurabh had also qualified for the Youth Olympic Games in December 2017.
That an ongoing programme to groom young shooters is paying dividends on the world stage has been evident over the past few months. Anish Bhanwala, also 16 years old, had become the youngest Indian to win a Commonwealth Games gold medal at the Gold Coast Games in Australia earlier this year.
Such has been the dominance of these youngsters that accomplished shooters like Jitu Rai and Om Mitharwal did not find a place in the Indian squad for the Asian Games.