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Three Birds, One Shot: Saurabh Chaudhary Sets World Record, Wins Gold and Secures Berth for Tokyo Olympics

Saurabh Chaudhary, 16, won his pet event, the 10m air pistol, with a world record score of 245 points in the final, to secure India’s second medal of the ISSF World Cup shooting, following Apurvi Chandela’s triumph the previous day.
Saurabh Chaudhary wins gold with new world record at ISSF World Cup shooting

With his performance on Sunday, Saurabh Chaudhary now holds the world record in 10m air pistol in both the junior and senior categories of competition. (Pic: Twitter, ISSF World Cup).

Saurabh Chaudhary set a new world record on his way to the gold medal in the men’s 10 metre air pistol event as the ISSF World Cup Shooting on February 24. The 16-year-old, who was competing in his maiden senior World Cup, scored 245 points in the final to set the new mark as well as secure an Olympic quota berth for India in the event for the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

In the final, Chaudhary scored just five 9s — a rare lapse in focus in what was otherwise a peerless performance. In fact, each time he shot a nine, he would bounce back with a high 10 score to ensure he remained on top of the leaderboard, a position he captured from the first series of five shots.

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With the record, Chaudhary now has both the junior and senior world marks against his name. He shot his way to the junior world record at the World Championships in Changwon last year. Intriguingly, his score of 245.5 at the junior worlds is higher than the senior world record he obtained on Sunday.

Despite rubbing shoulders with seasoned shooters in the competition, Chaudhary tried to keep things simple, focusing on sticking to his tried and tested approach to competition, and not thinking too much about the enormity of the occasion. A record, or gold medal was the last thing in his mind, said the 2018 Asian Games champion.

“I was just trying to do what I usually do. I never thought about the quota or any world record. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been here [with the gold medal],” he said.

“I knew I had a big lead, but didn't care about it. I just kept doing what I usually do and my focus was solely on my shots,” added Chaudhary.

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“The competition was really tough. I rarely watched the scoreboard. In the senior category, there are several high-level shooters, like world champions or Olympic champions. You gain huge experience playing with them,” he elaborated on the experience of competing against the big guns, that too in front of a packed home crowd.

“I have played with such crowd everywhere. But my focus was not there. It was the same atmosphere like at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta,” he added.

Chaudhary’s medal was India’s second gold at the Karni Singh shooting range in New Delhi, following Apurvi Chandela’s glorious run in the women's 10m air rifle category a day before.

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