Indian Shooter Shapath Bharadwaj wins bronze medal at ISSF Junior World Cup
Two weeks back, a young shooter from Meerut became the youngest Indian athlete to figure in the government's Target Olympic Podium scheme. The scheme also features stalwarts like PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Saina Nehwal and turned out to be a huge boost for Shapath Bharadwaj. The class 10 student from St. Mary's School, Meerut, won the bronze medal at ISSF Junior World Cup in Porpetto, Italy. This was his 4th ISSF Junior World Cup and the wait paid off with his first medal at the global stage. Earlier this year, he had finished 10th at the tournament in Delhi and 12th in Mexico.
He first shot into limelight when he topped the 22 shot shoot off the reach the final at ISSF Junior World Cup held at Cyprus in May 2017. However, he finished sixth in the tournament and narrowly missed out on the medal. But, luck favored him in Italy as he shot a 48 in the final to bag the bronze medal. He finished behind Junior World Record holder from Britain James Dedman and Miki Ylonen from Finland.
Shapath had qualified in second place for the final, shooting 131 out of 150. While Ahvar Rizvi of Uttar Pradesh shot 124. The latter went down to the eventual silver medallist in the shoot-off. Shapath was in second position with 13 hits after the first 16 shots in the final, behind Dedman who had 14 hits. On the other hand, Miko Ylonen made a slow start but recovered in the second half of the game. By the end of the 60 shots he piped Shapath with 50 successful shots as compared to the 48 by the Indian.
This was India's first individual and second medal overall in the tournament. The first being won by the team of Lakshay Sheoran and Manisha Keer in the mixed team trap competition. They finished behind Italy who won both the Gold and Silver medals.
Meanwhile, the future seems very bright for Shapath. As former world No. 1 double trap shooter Ronjan Singh Sodhi said, "I haven't run into a talent like Shapath in my entire career. He will soon be unstoppable."
He fought against all odds as he only trained with a dummy shotgun made by a local carpenter due to lack of funds. However, he got all the support from his family which helped him travel to training everyday to Tughlaqabad covering 200 km. He seems to be paying the faith shown in him and prepares for the trap event in 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo which might not feature the double trap shooting event.