ISSF World Cup 2019: Saurabh Chaudhary sets world record to clinch gold

Saurabh Chaudhary, 16, smashed the world record to clinch the 10m Air Pistol gold at the ISSF World Cup on Sunday.

In the event, Saurabh Chaudhary (centre) won the gold with 245.0, a world record, bettering his own record, and an improbable 5.7 point margin.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

He is too young to be a monk, but Saurabh Chaudhary can put a monk to shame when it comes to retaining equanimity in an electrifying atmosphere.

The 17-year-old Asian Games gold medallist, Youth Olympic champion and World junior champion, Saurabh added another golden leaf to his portfolio by winning the Olympic quota with a golden world record in men’s air pistol on Sunday.

In a way, it was one better in the ongoing shooting World Cup at the Dr. Karni Singh Range for the host, after the brilliant gold and world record of Apurvi Chandela in women’s air rifle, as Saurabh could pin the Olympic quota as well.

It was no fault of Apurvi that she had won the Olympic quota in the World Championship last year itself, but the pressure to do it at home was very much on the Indian squad. Yet, Saurabh was unwilling to load himself with any pressure. He could execute his technique, unleashing accurate shots much to the jubilation of the packed stands, as if he was enjoying the home advantage.

Read: As it happened

Saurabh stuck to the basics, qualified with an impressive 587 in the afternoon, before asserting his strength of character in a top class field, in an unbelievable final in which he started with a modest 10.2 and unleashed the next 23 shots like a statue.

In the event, Saurabh won the gold with 245.0, a world record, bettering his own record, and an improbable 5.7 point margin over Damir Mikec of Serbia who took the other Olympic quota place from the event.

"I knew I had a big lead, but I was not thinking about it. Just focused on my technique. I did not turn or look back, as it was important to retain the good position, physically. I did not want to change anything’’, said Saurabh, after the win.

He did not expect such a brilliant performance from himself, but was quite sure that he would deliver his 'best’. His best was beyond anyone’s expectation.

It was the third Olympic quota for the Tokyo 2020 Games for the Indian shooters, after the ones won in women’s air rifle by Apurvi and Anjum Moudgil.

Manu Bhaker reacts after being eliminated from the women’s 25-metre sports pistol event.   -  PTI

 

There was a lot of hope of Manu Bhaker striking another medal or Olympic quota in women’s 25-metre sports pistol, especially after she qualified in style with 590 out of 600, the second best score.

However, in the quick-fire event that demands a high degree of accuracy, as only a 10.2 or better counts for a hit, Manu slipped from being in the second place after six series of five shots, to getting eliminated in the fifth place, as she could hit only two out of five targets, when elimination stared like the Damocles sword.

It was perhaps heart-breaking for the teenager, but Manu can capitalise on the experience, as she has a lot to fight for, in her forthcoming matches in air pistol and the mixed team competition, in terms of securing an Olympic quota or winning a medal.

In the men’s 50-metre rifle 3-position event, Olympian Sanjeev Rajput fought hard till the end, after having conceded a lot of ground in the kneeling position in the 120-shot competition.

Sanjeev, who had won the Olympic quota but did not get to compete in the Rio Olympics last time, said that he was confident of getting it right in the next World Cup.

 

The results

Men

10m air pistol: 1. Saurabh Chaudhary 245.0 WR (587); 2. Damir Mikec

(Srb) 239.3 (586); 3. Pang Wei (Chn) 215.2 (587); 24. Abhishek Verma

576; 26. Ravinder Singh 576. MQS: Om Prakash Mitharwal 578.

 

50m rifle 3-position: 1. Istvan Peni (Hun) 459.1 (1178); 2. Sergey

Kamenskiy (Rus) 459.0 (1180); 3. Marco De Nicolo (Ita) 444.5 (1179);

22. Parul Kumar 1170; 25. Sanjeev Rajput 1169.

 

Women

25m sports pistol: 1. Veronika Major (Hun) 40 WR (591); 2. Zhang

Jingjing (Chn) 33 (586); 3. Haniyeh Rostamiyan (Iri) 30 (584); 5. Manu

Bhaker 22 (590); 15. Rahi Sarnobat 580; 17. Chinki Yadav 580. MQS:

Annu Raj Singh 571.