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Contribution of indigenous tricks
Hailing From Sugarcane Farmers’ Families, Teens Shardul And Saurabh Have Stolen The Limelight
Saurabh Chaudhary, all of 16, has bagged an Asian Games gold, making everyone wonder how a humble sugarcane farmer’s son from Meerut can become an ace shooter at such a young age. The answer lies in the Baghpat rifle club where he trains. ‘Our aim is Olympics’, reads the graffiti on the walls of the Veer Shahmal Rifle Club where Saurabh started his journey three years ago.
As part of practice, students at the shooting range are made to stretch their arms, like it is done while holding a gun, and hang a bangle-likestrap on their wrist attached to a brick (with a weight according to their age). This is done to perfect their grip. Several other indigenous tricks like concentrating on body movement in a dark room are used to train young shooters here.
Set up in 2011 by Amit Sheoran, a resident of Baghpat’s Johri village which is famous for producing medal-winning shooters, the club had just one air rifle and one air pistol in the beginning, with four students who wanted to learn shooting. Sheoran, who himself wanted to be a shooter and trained for a year, had to struggle hard to start the indoor shooting range covering 150 yards. “After Saurabh’s victory, I feel that I am finally getting closer to my dream. I couldn’t pursue shooting as a career, but I am living my dream through students like him,” said Sheoran, adding that his heart longs for an Olympic gold.
“When I started the rifle club, I did not have much money. In fact the land on which the range is set up was given to me by my maternal uncle. Due to a fund crunch, I devised techniques like using a bangle-like strap attached to a brick to improve grip. Initially, we used just a rope, but later we brought in plastic bands so that students do not end up hurting their wrists,” Saurabh’s coach said.
The same exercise can be performed with dumbbells, but Sheoran feels that it may lead to hardening of fingers, which is not good for shooters. Students standing in a queue with a brick hanging from their wrist are a common sight here. “I ask all my students to stand in their room in the shooting position, with their eyes closed and lights off, and feel their body movements. This helps them while taking the aim because there are several body movements that we are unable to notice when our eyes are open,” Sheoran said.
Among the prodigies produced at the shooting range is Deependra Singh, who had won gold and set a world record of 238.3 in the men’s 10m air pistol event at the Para Shooting World Cup in Bangkok in 2017. “It isn’t about worldclass equipment or facilities. It’s about the hard work you put in and how determined you are to do well,” said Sheoran.
2015- the Asiad 2018 Gold
Son Of A Sugarcane Farmer, Saurabh Took Up Shooting To Escape Studies
Saurabh Chaudhary is not good at mathematics, but when Japanese pistol great Tomoyuki Matsuda shot an 8.9 in his penultimate shot, the Indian knew it was a score that would not fetch a gold.
The UP boy, just 16, didn’t miss the opportunity to become the youngest Indian shooter to win the gold medal, as he responded with a 10.2 and 10.4. He won the men’s 10m air pistol event with a Games record to boot.
Saurabh, who comes from Kalina village near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, was a little nervous but never short on confidence while shooting along with former world champion Matsuda and four-time Olympic gold medallist, Jin Jongoh of South Korea.
“The start was a little shaky as I was a bit nervous. But as the match progressed, I became confident. I was trailing by 0.4 point before the second-last shot and was looking for a window to cover the gap. When I saw Matsuda shoot that 8.9, I knew it was my chance,” Saurabh told TOI from Palembang.
Saurabh, who took up the sport only three years ago, showed a lot of grit while shooting in his maiden senior international match. “I have done well at the junior level. I made the junior world record three months ago in the World Cup, so I had no doubts over my technique. The only thing I had to take care was not to get nervous while shooting with the names I have always considered as role models,” he said.
Son of a sugarcane farmer, shooting was sort of an escape route for Saurabh. “I am not good at academics and I never found studies interesting. I wanted to do something that I loved to do and shooting was something that grabbed my attention,” said standard XI student Saurabh, who shot 243.7 to create a new world record at the Junior World Cup in Suhl earlier this year.
Shooting happened when Saurabh got to know about the range in Benoli near his village. He got his father’s support immediately.
“Father always supported Saurabh’s decision of taking shooting seriously. His love for shooting was such that once he started shooting, he would train for hours, even without taking lunch breaks,” said Saurabh’s elder brother Nitin, who is in first year of his graduation.
“Once he got selected for the Indian team, he got a small range built in his room and would train all day. We don’t know much about shooting or Asian Games, but we were sure he would come back with a medal,” Nitin added.
Saurabh realises that the Asian medal is big, but he doesn’t have time to celebrate. “I have to leave for India tomorrow as the camp for junior World Championships has begun in Delhi,” he said.
The young shooter has also won a ticket to the Youth Olympics, which will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October. Saurabh is supported by not-for-profit sports organisation, Olympic Gold Quest. He had won gold at the Khelo India school games earlier in 2018.
Youth Olympic Games
2018, Saurabh’s golden hat-trick
After Asian And Worlds, Meerut Shooter Becomes Youth Olympic Champ In Men’s 10m Air Pistol Event
Shooter Saurabh Chaudhary won the gold medal in men’s 10m air pistol event of Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is 16-year-old Saurabh’s third big medal — he became the Asian Games champion in August and junior World Champion in September earlier in 2018.
It was sort of a cakewalk for Saurabh as he shot 244.2 in the eight-man final to win the gold. The boy from Kaleena village in Meerut already holds the junior world record of 245. 5 in the final, 1.9 points more than the senior record (243.6). He once again made a mockery of seniors’ final record by 0.6 point. But since this score was shot in youth category, it will not be considered as a senior record.
Saurabh won the top position bagging 7.5 points more than the South Korean silver medallist Sung Yunho’s 236.7. Switzerland’s Jason Solari won the bronze (215.6).
With Saurabh’s gold, Indian shooters’ medal conversion rate has remained 100 per cent at YOG. Four Indian shooters qualified for the Games and all of them have won medals in their individual categories. While Shahu Tushar Mane and Mehuli Ghosh won silver medals in men and women's 10m air rifle events respectively, Manu Bhaker clinched gold in the women’s 10m air pistol on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Saurabh entered the final after shooting 580 in the qualification round. He was impressive in the six-series qualification as he shot 97 twice and a perfect 100 in the fourth series, a feat pistol shooters struggle to achieve.
The final, however, turned out to be one-sided for the Indian as he started on top with a lead of 0.9 point after first five shots. The lead kept increasing with each round. Though Saurabh shot his quota of 9s, he compensated with some 10.7s and a 10.8s in the final and stayed ahead. After 14 shots, the Indian prodigy was ahead of the eventual silver medallist Sung Yunho of Korea by a huge margin of five points.
Saurabh never lost focus and 16th shot onwards, he shot higher than 10 consistently. His last 9 shots fetched him a total of 92.3 points, which was crucial for him to maintain a comfortable grip over the gold medal.
All the four Indian shooters at the Youth Olympic Games will also participate in the mixed-team events but with partners from different countries. Since Saurabh has topped his individual event, he will get a partner who was placed last in the women’s individual qualifications. Saurabh is likely to get Pakistan's Nubaira Babar as his partner, who had finished last in women’s 10m air pistol event on Tuesday. Likewise, Manu will pair with Tajikistan’s Bezhan Fayzullaev, who was placed last on Wednesday in men’s 10m air pistol event.
Talking to TOI, NRAI president Raninder Singh said: “I can’t as for anything more. We had four shooters in individual events and we won four medals. I don’t think this has been done ever by Indians in any multi-sport event.”
Senior 10m air pistol world record
After winning Asian Games, junior World Championships and Youth Olympics gold medals, young Saurabh Chaudhary ended the year with a bang by scoring 4.6 points better than the senior 10m air pistol record in the national selection trials.
Saurabh, 16, clinched the top position in the final by shooting 248.2 — 4.6 points more than the current world record of 243.6 by Ukrainian shooter Oleh Omelchuck. The London and Beijing Games finalist, Omelchuk, had shot the score in the ISSF World Cup in Munich earlier this year.
Since the score came at the trials, it won’t be considered as an official record by the world shooting body, ISSF.
The junior world record of 245.5, which is 1.9 ahead of the seniors’ record, is held by Saurabh. The Meerut boy repeated his world junior record score to win the juniors’ final too, at Dr Karni Singh Shooting range.