Ace shooter Saurabh Chaudhary stamped his class to win the men’s 10m air pistol gold at the 63rd National Shooting Championship competitions in Bhopal on Saturday. The 17-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, who is touted as India’s biggest hope for a medal in shooting in Tokyo Games, went below his recently lost world record score by just 0.1, shooting a classy 246.4 to finish on top.

Second-placed Sarabjot Singh of Haryana was well behind with a score of 243.9, while world number two Abhishek Verma settled for bronze in a high-quality final.

Abhishek and Sarabjot did combine to win the team gold in the event for Haryana. Sarabjot also won the junior men’s gold for a profitable day.

Haryana and Uttar Pradesh picked up a clutch of golds as well.

Hoping for a couple of medals at Tokyo: India’s junior Rifle Coach

India’s junior rifle team coach Suma Shirur is hoping for the Indian shooting contingent to win at least a couple of medals at the Tokyo Olympics. Shirur said India is very strong in two-three shooting events.

“I think that India is on top of the game as far as shooting is concerned. The shooters are very talented. They have very good hand-eye coordination. Each one of the shooters is capable of winning a medal on a good day,” said Shirur.

“We are very strong in two-three events and I am hoping for a couple of Olympic medals this time.”

Shirur explained the process which the Indian shooting coaching team follows when they are looking to spot new talents in the sport. “We observe young talents for about two-three years and see at what pace a particular junior player is growing. If a shooter is talented, then the player picks up the sport at a faster rate than the others,” she said.

“But it doesn’t mean that the others can’t make it. Eventually, talent is not enough. All athletes have to work hard on their game. There are many athletes who come up with sheer hard work,” added Shirur, who had won the gold at 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.