Less than two months after topping the podium at the Asian Games, shooter Saurabh Chaudhary has won the gold medal in 10m Air Pistol at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
The 16-year-old finished with a score of 244.2, a comfortable 7.5 points ahead of the silver medal winner from South Korea, Sung Yunho (236.7). Jason Solari of Switzerland won the bronze medal with 215.6
India now have three Youth Olympic gold medals – all have come at the meet being held in Beunos Aires, Argentina.
Manu Bhaker and Jeremy Lalrinnunga have won gold medals in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol and Men’s 62kg weightlifting respectively.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) pointed out that all Indian shooters had now won a medal at the Youth Olympic Games 2018.
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) October 11, 2018
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore congratulated him on Twitter.
Bravo! Saurabh Chaudhary in a great display of concentration and skills, shoots a GOLD in the Men's 10 M Air Pistol Event at the #YouthOlympicGames @BuenosAires2018. Many congratulations to him on this brilliant achievement!?????
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) October 10, 2018
Single-Mindedness Of Purpose
Speaking to The Indian Expresss, his coach Amit Sheoran described Chaudhary’s focus and dedication to a sport that he took up barely three years ago.
“He would come to the rifle club at around six in the morning and would clean the venue before training. Sometimes, temperatures would touch more than 47 degrees inside the sheds but he will train till noon and often get late for lunch. And then he would continue shooting. There were many other shooters but he never hesitated in cleaning the floor. Aur ab is tarah medal jeet raha hai ki jhadoo hi laga raha hai international competitions main medals ka.” Amit Sheoran said.
India’s Manu Bhaker had earlier won the gold medal in the women’s 10m Air Pistol event.
Golden Year For Shooter Saurabh Chaudhary
The 16-year-old had stunned seasoned campaigners to win a gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol event at the 2018 Asian Games in August this year. He went past Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda, a two-time shooting world champion, to set a new Games record of 240.7 in the final.
In September, he broke the junior shooting world record, by bettering the mark he had himself set less than three months earlier. Both the scores were better than the existing senior shooting world record.
He had earlier shot his way to a world record at the the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, in June.
Target Tokyo Olympics
Shooter Saurabh Chaudhary would be keen to continue his current form for long enough to make it to the squad for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His coach has said that he had not let the Asian Games gold medal affect his focus.
Saurabh’s biggest strength has been his calmness and even after the Asian Games, he did not talk about beating Olympic and world Champions, coach Sheoran told The Indian Express. He added that Chaudhary’s eye would now be on a spot for the Tokyo Olympics.
The teenage shooting sensation is part of India’s Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS). Run by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), it provides support for training, coaching, and equipment needed by athletes selected under the programme.
The scheme was announced for sportspersons preparing for the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.