16-year-old Indian shooter equals Rio Olympics gold medallist's score at National Shooting Championship
A 16-year-old shooter, who is based in Gandhidham, has left the likes of Gagan Narang and other top shooters of the country behind on his way to claiming the gold medal in the junior men’s 50M Rifle Prone event at the National Shooting Championship in Pune.
Pruthviraj Ayachi, who hails from Gujarat, shot 209.5 in the finals as he emerged the champion in the event. In perspective, Sushil Ghaley, who won the senior men’s 50m Rifle Prone, shot 207.5, a meagre score when compared to Ayachi’s.
In fact, the youngster broke the record score by an Indian shooter which was held by Rakesh Manpat. Manpat had set a national record by shooting 207.9 in the 2013 nationals, but Ayachi went past that with ease.
What is more remarkable is that he also equalled the score of the Olympic champion. H Junghaenel of Germany had shot the same score by virtue of which he won the gold medal in the men’s 50m Rifle Prone event at the Rio Olympics earlier in the year.
Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda after the event, Ayachi spoke about his aspirations of representing the country in the near future. He said, “I have been practising for the past year for this event. I have shot this score in practice and it was great that I could execute it here. Hopefully a senior transition soon.”
Ayachi first shot to fame as a 13-year-old in 2013, when he secured the gold medal in the 50m prone rifle shooting (senior) event of the 23rd All India G V Mavlankar Shooting Championship held in West Bengal. He shot a score of 576 points out of a maximum 600 to secure the gold.
The young shooter, who is the son of national-level shooter Dilip Ayachi, was even congratulated by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi after his achievement back in 2013. He was also awarded the Sardar Patel award by the Sports Minister Nanubhai Vanani.
In the meanwhile, Heena Sidhu claimed the gold medal in women’s 10m air pistol by a comfortable margin. Although the young shooters gave her a big fright in the qualification rounds, Heena managed to hold her own as she set a new meet record for the finals.