JAKARTA: Shotgun shooter Shardul Vihan followed the footsteps of his teenage compatriot Saurabh Chaudhary, exactly 48 hours after the youngster had notched up 10m Air Pistol gold, and though the Meerut boy failed to match the colour of the medal the fight he gave till the end will be remembered for many years to come.
Shardul was locked in a long-drawn fight with South Korea’s Hyun-woo Shin and the two took their duel closer to the Games Record before the Korean stepped out to take the gold medal.
Nonetheless, Shardul surprised everybody with his tremendous confidence as he shot 73 in the final after leading the qualification round with 141 out of 150.
Making his debut in senior competition, Shardul began with perfect 10. His first miss came on the 11th shot but he continued to lead with the Korean till the first elimination at the end of 30 shots.
He though lost out to Shin in a closely fought final with Qatari Hamad Ali Al Marri taking the bronze medal with a score of 53.
Shardul became the third teenager after the 19-year-old Saurabh and 16 year Lakshay Sheoran (silver in trap) to win a shooting medal for India at the 18th Asian Games.
With their combined age of 50 years, these teenagers earned laurels for the country winning a gold and two-silver medals and in the process demystified the much used word—experience.
Shardul’s qualification score was very impressive after a series of 28,28,29,27,29. Another Indian in the fray, Ankur Mittal, shot 134 (27,28,26,27,26) to finish 9th and failed to make the cut.
For long a myth was being propagated that only experienced shooters could take the pressure of the events like Olympics and Asian Games and under that pretext shooter with over 10 to 20 years of experience used to get preference. Though their experience never paid off, barring couple of exceptions, of Olympics and Asian Games.
Shardul became the third Indian to win medal in the double trap at the Asian Games. Ronjan Sodhi won gold in 2010, while Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, won silver in that same year in Guangzhou.
Shardul began competing in junior competitions in 2015 and finished sixth in the same event at the junior World Championships in 2017. He hogged the limelight by winning four gold on a single day in the 61st National Shooting Championship in November last year, beating the then World No 1 double-trapper Ankur 78-76 in the men’s final.
“This was my first senior team representation in Asiad and I am feeling very happy and fortunate to win the Silver medal for my country. I want to credit this medal to the support I have received from my coaches, my family, the federation and my teammates,” said Shardul.
ASIAN GAMES SHOOTING FACTFILE:
- Shardul Vihan tops qualification with 141 out 150
- Shoots 73 out of 80 targets to claim Silver
- This was India’s eighth medal in shooting
- India are second to China overall in the shooting medal tally
- Shreyasi Singh finished sixth with a score of 121 in women’s Double trap.
- Varsha Varman finished seventh with 120