File photo of India’s Saurabh Chaudhary celebrating his win at the men’s 10m air pistol shooting final during the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Aug. 21. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images)
Pulling the trigger to the best of his ability, Saurabh Chaudhary gunned down the men’s 10m air pistol gold, capping off the Indian shooting team’s campaign at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Oct. 10, in the manner that befits its best-ever showing.
The 16-year-old Chaudhary dominated the final, shooting 244.2 to finish on top of the podium ahead of South Korea’s Sung Yunho (236.7).
Switzerland’s Solari Jason bagged the bronze with 215.6 at the Parque Polideportivo Roca shooting range.
The Indian had a staggering 18 scores of 10 and above in the eight-man finals.
Chaudhary, an Asian Games and Junior ISSF World Championship gold medallist, also topped the qualifying with 580.
Hailing from Kalina village near Meerut, Chaudhary led from start to finish to emerge winner, a day after another 16-year-old, Manu Bhaker, won the women’s pistol event.
Despite four scores of under 10 to start with, Chaudhary managed to stay ahead and then extended his domination with scores of 10.7 10.4 10.4 and 10.0.
He continued to lead the pack as the finals entered the elimination stage.
Chaudhary led at the end of stage 1 despite shooting under 10 in four attempts. While a high 10.8 was his best in the first series, in the second series of first stage he had four scores of 10 and above, including a 10.7, which placed him way ahead of the rest of the pack.
This despite an equally impressive series of 10.0 10.7 10.2 and 10.1 by Switzerland’s Solari Jason.
An 8.5 saw the Swiss being pipped by Korea’s Sung Yunho, even as the Indian continued to produce excellent scores.
Saurabh had two slow starts in the day, the first in qualifying when he was briefly placed 11th in the 20-man field before stamping his class with a solid 580 over 60 shots to top the standings.
Then he began slowly in the finals, but then literally decimated the field, opening up leads of 0.8 after five shots, 2.9 after 10 shots, a full five points after the 18th shot and eventually finished with 244.2, a full 7.5 points clear of silver winning Korean Sung Yunho, who finished with 236.7.
This was India’s fourth podium from shooting in four days, as the four individual shooters at the Games – Shahu Mane, Mehuli Ghosh, Many Bhaker and Chaudhary — won two gold and two silver medals between them.
Chaudhary topped the qualifying with 580 ahead of Iran’s Salavati Erfan and Czech Republic’s Schejbal Pavel. The India’s sequence of scores included 97, 96, 95, 100, 95, 97.
The teen sensation entered the event on the back of a blazing run.
The Asiad gold medallist created a new junior world record to clinch the air pistol junior men gold in the 52nd ISSF Shooting World Championship in Changwon last month.
Before his exploits in Korea, Chaudhary became only the fifth Indian shooter to claim a gold in the Asian Games history, beating a field of multiple world and Olympic champions in the 10m air pistol finals.