India’s top-ranked shooter Saurabh Chaudhary bagged his maiden national shooting title in the men’s 50m pistol event on Thursday. This was the very first time the Tokyo Olympian has participated in the event.
Saurabh Chaudhary, the 2018 Asian Games gold medalist, struck gold with a score of 564 at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi. This was the second medal day of the championship, scheduled to run till December 6.
The 19-year-old shooter entered the competition riding on the back of a silver medal in the recently-concluded ISSF President’s Cup. Representing Uttar Pradesh, he was up against a 287-strong field in his first ever attempt at the free pistol at the national level.
Saurabh Chaudhary dominated the field, which also had shooters like Ravinder Singh and Jitu Rai.
Armyman Ravinder Singh finished second behind Saurabh Chaudhary with a score of 559. His compatriot Pardeep Kumar bagged the bronze medal with a score of 555. The Indian record holder in the 50m pistol event, Jitu Rai, finished 13th with a score of 550.
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Interestingly, the 50m pistol event is not part of the Olympic shooting program.
How important is this medal win for Saurabh Chaudhary?
The win will be a big boost for Saurabh Chaudhary, especially after the disappointment at the Tokyo Olympics. With multiple marquee events and 2024 Paris Olympic quotas lined up next year, the UP shooter would like to end his year on a high.
He has already won two medals post-Olympics and a third will be up for grabs in his favorite 10m air pistol event at the national championships.
However, his main focus will be on the 2022 World Championship, Asian and Commonwealth Games next year.
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The Worlds will kick off the Olympic qualification process, while he will defend his title at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.