Aim it right; this young farmer harvests gold

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Aim it right; this young farmer harvests gold

Saurabh Chaudhary, teenage shooting sensation at the Asian Games, picked up a gun only three years ago

Even his coaches, Amit Sheoran and Jaspal Rana, must have been zapped by the nonchalance with which 16-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary shot his way to gold in the 10-metre air pistol event at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games on Tuesday.

For one, this was his first outing at the Asian Games, an arena where only four Indian shooters had won a gold before. Second, he had picked up shooting just three years ago, in 2015, and had thought of it only as a hobby – a far cry from the obsessive intensity that marks the professionals competing for sporting glory.

And finally, though this was ‘only’ the Asian Games, Chaudhary was up against arguably the most successful shooter of all time, the three-time Olympic champion Jin Jong-oh of South Korea, and the 2010 World champion, Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan (who eventually had to settle for silver). The U.P. boy not only shrugged off the challenge, he also set a new Asian Games record, bringing India its first shooting gold at the 2018 Asian Games.

So how did a 16-year-old son of a farmer from a village called Kalina in Meerut district do it? In a technical sport such as shooting, where concentration is as important as focus, it is a challenge to stay calm under pressure. Besides, the pressure this time was higher, as the men’s air pistol team was seen as considerably weakened by the absence of the accomplished Jitu Rai and rising star Shahzar Rizvi. But Chaudhary drew his strength from the confidence that his coach, Raunak Pandit, placed in him.

Top scores

“Saurabh has averaged over 585 on a daily basis at senior national camps in Bhopal and Delhi. His final scores were 245-246. I was very positive about him winning a medal,” said Pandit. When most would have expected Chaudhary to pick up wrestling or kabaddi in U.P., he chose the gun.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from a The Hindu.)

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