National selection trials: Saurabh Chaudhary comes out on top with new national record

Saurabh Chaudhary's world record-smashing score at the national selection trials may not get ratified by ISSF, but it will definitely be the new national record.

Saurabh Chaudhary came out on top in 10m air pistol at the National Shooting Selection Trials held in New Delhi.

Saurabh Chaudhary is a champion par excellence, and he reiterated his class twice over in the shooting national selection trials at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, in New Delhi on Saturday.

The 16-year-old Asian Games and Youth Olympics gold-medallist, Saurabh, topped the men’s field in 10m air pistol by smashing his own world record with a score of 248.2 and followed it up by equalling his previous record of 245.5 he set while winning the World junior championship in Korea.

The record may not get considered for ratification by the International Shooting Federation (ISSF), but it will definitely be the new national record.

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Saurabh’s world junior record of 245.5 is better than the men’s world record of 243.6 set by Oleh Omelchuk of Ukraine during the World Cup in Munich earlier this season.

After just about qualifying in the sixth place with 578 and four points behind topper Achal Pratap Singh Grewal, Saurabh stepped into the final with a first shot of 9.5. Thereafter, he was at his best as he aggregated 248.2 over 24 shots. He beat Anmol Jain by 5.9 points.

Men's air pistol toppers at shooting National trials in Delhi. From left: Anmol Jain, Saurabh Chaudhary and Nikhil Chandila.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Asian Games bronze medallist Abhishek Verma failed to make the final despite scoring 578, owing to a lesser number of inner-10s, as compared to Saurabh and Rajkanwar Singh Sandhu.

Later, during the battle for the junior honour, Saurabh finished with a 10.7 and 9.8 that saw him equal his world junior record of 245.5 and a triumph over qualification topper Nikhil Chandiala by 3.1 points.

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World junior champion Vijayveer was pushed to the third spot, and placed ahead of Ayush Jindal, Rajkanwar Singh, Abhishek Arya Gaurav Rana and Aman Chaudhary in the junior field.

Vijayveer finished second, 3.5 points behind his twin brother Udhayveer Sidhu, in the youth final. Nikhil Chandila lost a shoot-off with Vijayveer (9.10-10.2) and placed third, ahead of Rajkanwar Singh, Manish Saharawat, Yuvraj Singh and Lavish Kumar.

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