Jakarta: India’s 16-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary showed that he has cool head on his young shoulders by clinching shooting gold on his Asian Games debut.
In the men’s 10m air pistol event, Chaudhary shot a Games record score of 240.7 to finish ahead of Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda, who managed 239.7 for silver. The bronze was bagged by Chaudhary’s compatriot Abhishek Verma, who too was making his debut at 29, with 219.3.
It was a huge achievement for the youngster to prevail in a high-profile field that included Jin Jong-oh from South Korea, the multiple-time Olympic and world champion.
Chaudhary, who looked in line for silver after being in second position for most of the final, shot into lead after Matsuda fired 8.9 in his penultimate round.
The Indian then showed tremendous maturity and nerves of steel to shoot a 10.2 off his second-last round. While the Japanese managed a 10.3 in his final attempt, Chaudary’s 10.4 was enough to pocket the gold.
“I was just focusing on my shot and didn’t try to do anything different. I did not feel any pressure at all,” said Chaudhary, who was equally good in the qualification with a score of 586.
The student of class XI honed his skills at the Amit Sheoran’s academy at a small place called Benoli, 53 kilometres from Meerut.
“All credit of my success should go to Amit Sir. He was with me all through these three years,” said Chaudhary, who started shooting just as a hobby.
He also went on to reveal that he didn’t get overawed by the situation and the top-class shooters around him.
“Had I focused on who was around me, perhaps I wouldn’t have managed such a result. I just kept it to myself and went about it quietly,” said Chaudary, who also takes interest in his father’s farming business.
“I like farming. We don’t get much time off from training but whenever I do, I go back to my village in Kalina, I help my father,” said Chaudhary, who gave tremendous evidence of his talent recently by breaking the world record on way to winning a gold in the Junior World Cup in Germany.
Verma, who had disappointed in the mixed team event with Manu Bhaker, speaking about his bronze medal winning showing, said: “I was not disappointed with that result, in fact it actually helped me prepare well for the individual finals. I did feel the pressure, considering it was a high-quality field. I was able to calm myself down.”
India also clinched a bronze in Sepaktakraw. The men’s team lost their Team Regu semi-final match 2-0 to Thailand. However, this is the first-ever medal India has won in Sepaktakraw event.
India had defeated Iran 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 21- 17) in the opener and lost to Indonesia 3-0 in the second Preliminary Group B match but still advanced to the semis and thus ensured a bronze.
Wrestler Divya Kakran added to India’s tally with another bronze late in the evening. Kakran defeated Chinese Taipei’s Chen Wenling in just 89 seconds via technical superiority (10-0).