ISSF World Cup: Saurabh keeps up gold standard, Esha settles for silver

Tuesday was another day Saurabh made headlines with his pistol. Displaying his giant appetite yet again, he clinched the men’s 10m air pistol gold at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Cairo.
Indian shooter Saurabh Chaudhary (Photo | EPS)
Indian shooter Saurabh Chaudhary (Photo | EPS)

CHENNAI: 'Saurabh Chaudhary wins gold'. That has been a recurrent theme ever since his junior days. Spring, summer, fall or winter, Saurabh has so far proven to be the man for all seasons. Granted, he couldn't do the same during the Olympics. But one must remember that he's just 19 and he at least made it to the final in Tokyo (which in itself is an achievement; ask the shooters, young and old).

Saurabh Chaudhary
Saurabh Chaudhary

Tuesday was another day Saurabh made headlines with his pistol. Displaying his giant appetite yet again, he clinched the men's 10m air pistol gold at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Cairo. Going by the ISSF website, it was Saurabh's 15th gold of his career (some of the medals came during his junior/youth days). In total, he has an impressive 25 medals (7 silver and 3 bronze). A lot has been written about him, his thought process, his habit, his routines. His medal-winning calibre continues to boggle minds.

"He does not get bogged down by unwanted thoughts. He had entered the Olympics as any other event and had just fallen short. He had experienced similar setbacks in the past on a few occasions. So it didn't make much of a difference to him as he knew this is the nature of the sport. After returning home, he continued to work on his shooting like he had been doing in the past," Saurabh's elder brother Nitin said, when asked what keeps him ticking.

Instead of mourning over the Olympic miss, Saurabh did what he does best — work hard and train. He reaped his reward during the President's Cup a few months later. Despite tricky times during Covid third wave, his focus remained intact. Saurabh continued to keep in touch with national coach Samaresh Jung in a bid to stay sharp. Something that was visible on Tuesday.

Battling against Michael Schwald of Germany in the gold medal match, Saurabh, after a slow start, made a strong finish to walk away with the top prize.

After finishing third in the qualification stage, Saurabh was clubbed alongside three others including Russia's Artem Chernousov, a proven shooter who has numerous medals to his name, in Part 1 of the final stage. The young Indian shooter was on target throughout the whole series, garnering 38 points with just one attempt under a score of 10. That helped him enter the medal rounds.

In the medal match, where four shooters were in contention, Saurabh started with a low 9 and was behind during the early stages. But he recovered to put up some consistent scores above 10 before making a decent finish.

Later in the day, Esha Singh, who was making her first appearance in the senior World Cup, put up an impressive display to return with a silver medal.

After finishing sixth in the qualification stage, Esha topped the opening part of the final stage to enter the medal round. There, she kept up her form to survive elimination stages and make it to the gold medal match. Up against an experienced campaigner in Anna Korakaki, Esha made a slow start and just couldn't cope with the pressure. Korakaki, on the other hand, showed why she is one the best in the business by hitting some high scores, which eventually proved to be too much for the young Indian.

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