Olympics: Saurabh Chaudhary flatters to deceive, finishes 7th in 10m air pistol

Saurabh Chaudhary
Saurabh Chaudhary

Tokyo, July 24 : There was heartbreak for Indian 10m air pistol shooter Saurabh Chaudhary, who despite emerging on top in the qualification round earlier on Saturday, finished seventh as the country suffered its biggest setback in the shooting arena on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Chaudhary, who had given enough indication that he was in great form to finish on the podium when he shot 586 to go into the finals as the leader, was the second shooter to be eliminated from among the eight finalists, finishing seventh.

Saurabh Chaudhary got things rolling with a 10.1 in the finals, but he finished at the bottom of the pile after the first five shots with a score of 47.7. After 10 shots, the Meerut-born marksman had moved to seventh and was only 0.3 points behind sixth-placed Christian Reitz of Germany.

Tied at 107.0 after the first elimination shot, Chaudhary managed to stay on with 117.2 points, even as South Korea’s Korea’s Kim Mose was the first to get eliminated (115.8 points).

Before the next shot, China’s Zhang Bowen had a 0.3 point deficit, but walking into the deciding shot Saurabh registered a poor 9.6 to Zhang’s 10.2 and became the second marksman in the finals to get eliminated.

Earlier, the Indian ace had come up with superb marksmanship, topping the qualification round.

The Meerut boy shot 586 to be tied with Chinese Bowen Zhang after qualification, but as the Indian had more ‘inner 10s’ (27) to his name, he took the first spot going into the finals.

The other Indian in the fray, Abhishek Verma, was in the reckoning for a place in the finals. But he shot two 9s followed by two 8s in his last four shots, which meant that he finished 17th with a score of 575.

The 19-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary started off with five shots of 10, leading the competition early. But it was followed by five shots of nine to end the first series with 95. In the second and third series, he had scores of 98 each.

The fourth series was stellar for him, getting perfect 10s in all the ten shots.

Chaudhary had 43 shots of 10s till shooting a nine on the second-last shot of the fifth series, ending with 98. In the final series, he started off with six 10s followed by three 9s and ending with a 10.

The 31-year-old Verma had an iffy start with 94 in the first series. He was able to overcome it by shooting 96 and 98 in the second and third series respectively. A 97 in the fourth series and 98 in five propelled him to reach inside the top-eight.

Verma looked set to join Chaudhary in the finals till the final series, but the meltdown in the final four shots caused the former’s downfall.

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