Saurabh Chaudhary has a fairy tale finish

The 15-year-old from Uttar Pradesh had finished fourth in the World Junior Championship in Suhl this season.

Saurabh Chaudhary beat Jitu Jitu Rai for the men's gold in the All India Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship in New Delhi.   -  Special Arrangement

Saurabh Chaudhary provided a fairy tale finish, as he clinched the men’s air pistol gold, 0.8 point ahead of world beater Jitu Rai, in the 17th Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad on Wednesday.

What was remarkable was that the 15-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, who had finished fourth in the World Junior Championship in Suhl this season, had competed in two other finals earlier in the day, and won the junior and youth silver medals.

It was some achievement after Saurabh had topped the qualification with 584 in a strong field of 324 shooters in the men’s event. ‘’I make them strong to face defeat with a smile. Most of them have learnt well’’, said the National junior coach Jaspal Rana, whose young team had finished second in the medals table in the World Junior Championship in Germany.

In a gripping climax, Saurabh who trailed Jitu by 0.4 point before the last two shots, came up with 9.6 on the penultimate hit in the 24-shot final. Jitu had an 8.4. That clinched it for Saurabh as both showed their class on the last shot with 10.6.

It was not a surprise in a way, as Jitu had finished eighth earlier in free pistol. Amanpreet Singh and Olympian Prakash Nanjappa had shot 579 and missed the final on the count back.

Saurabh had earlier in the day been overtaken to the junior gold by Arjun Singh Cheema, despite him shooting 10.5 on the last two shots. Cheema shot 243.6, with 10.7 and 10.5 on the last two hits, for a total that was better than the world junior record of 241.1, to clinch the gold, 0.9 point ahead of Saurabh.

In the youth final, it was Abhishek Arya who pipped Saurabh by one point, with an unbelievable climax of 10.8 and 10.9. Saurabh who had led 2.8 points ahead, slipped to silver with shots of 9.6 and 8.3. Abhishek went on to win the junior bronze.

Those slips at the crunch in the first two finals of the day, were the stepping stones of success for the young Saurabh, who had won the team bronze in the World Championship along with Arjun Singh Cheema and Anmol Jain.

The results:

Men: 10m air pistol: 1. Saurabh Chaudhary 241.9 (584); 2. Jitu Rai 241.1 (581); 3. Omkar Singh 217.9 (581).

Juniors: 1. Arjun Singh Cheema 243.6 (576); 2. Saurabh Chaudhary 242.7 (584); 3. Abhishek Arya 221.7 (574).

Youth: 1. Abhishek Arya 241.0 (574); 2. Saurabh Chaudhary 240.0 (584); 3. Vijayveer Sidhu 219.4 (576).