Saurabh Chaudhary at the age of 16 years becomes the fifth Indian shooter to claim a gold in the Asian Games history
The ages of Indian champions are dropping, or so it seems at least in shooting. 19 years old, Lakshay Sheoran won silver in trap shooting on Monday. Saurabh Chaudhary went better on two accounts. He is 16 and won a gold medal in 10m air pistol at the 18th Asian Games.
It was India’s third gold medal of the Games. Abhishek Verma, too, contributed a bronze from the same event. Later Sanjeev Rajput added a silver from 50m rifle 3-positions. That meant India bagged one gold, one silver and one bronze from the shooting ranges for the day. And added to the two silver and one bronze India won in shooting on Monday.
Saurabh Chaudhary in his first senior event showed a lot of maturity and calmness. He beat 2010 World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda on the penultimate shot in the 24 shot final. He aggregated 240.7. Japan’s 42-year-old Matsuda misfired in the 23rd shot, an 8.9, to settle for silver. He scored 239.7.
Everyone’s expectations from Saurabh was very high this time. But they didn’t think that he could match the likes of Jaspal Rana, Randhir Singh, Jitu Rai and Ronjan Sodhi at such a young age. He made all of them happy by winning the gold. He has also broken many world records while winning the gold medal at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany , a couple of months back.
Saurabh Chaudhary’s father is a farmer. He hails from Kalina, a small village where farming is the main occupation on the banks of Hindon river in Meerut tehsil in Uttar Pradesh. It is just under 30 kilometres from the main city of Meerut. There are just under 500 families and less than 4,000 people. The literacy rate in Kalina is among the highest in the state. “I like farming. We don’t get much time off from training but whenever I do, I go back to my Village (Kalina) and help my father. ” Saurabh said. He took to shooting only three years ago. He trained at Amit Sheoran’s Academy in Binauli near Baghpat. The Academy is named after a great freedom fighter Baba Shah Mal, who hailed from the area and took on the might of the British.
Saurabh Chaudhary said “I did not feel any pressure. I just came to compete and do my best.” He added, “I have been in good form and given good results and trained hard.” He turned from a young boy of 16 into man, who won a gold in the 10m air pistol for India.