Saurabh Chaudhary wins Gold in the 10m Air Pistol event at the 2018 Youth Olympics
Parque Polideportivo Roca was the venue for the 10m Air Pistol event for Men at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Saurabh Chaudhary of India is the hot favourite for Gold boasting two World record efforts on his way to Gold in the 2018 World Championships at Changwon, Korea, and the Suhl World Cup. His recent Gold medal at the 18th Asian Games strengthens his case where he competed against seasoned pros to win the coveted title. Abdul-Aziz Kurdzi of Belarus with a fifth-place finish in Suhl and Yunho Sung of Korea who finished sixth in Changwon are his competitors.
Earlier in the qualifiers, twenty competitors battled it out for the top eight positions to stake a claim for the finals. Saurabh Chaudhary as expected finished first with a score of 580. Abdul-Aziz Kurdzi of Belarus finished a disappointing tenth, with a score of 565 and failed to qualify. Yunho Sung of Korea finished sixth with 569. Erfan Salavati of Iran who finished 22nd in the World Championships and has a career best of 569 in the 2017 Asian Shooting Championships came up with a brilliant effort of 580 which placed him in the second spot.
In the Finals, Saurabh Chaudhary surged into the lead scoring 50.3 from his first five shots, 0.8 points ahead of second-placed German, Jan Luca Karstedt. In the second round of five shots, the Indian posted an astonishing score of 51.3 to improve his tally to 101.6. This effort took him 2.9 points ahead of Jason Solari of Switzerland who stood in the second spot after ten rounds.
Rihards Zorge of Latvia was the first shooter to be eliminated finishing eight with a score of 110.2.
Competing in his first Finals, Pavel Schejbal of Czech Republic finished in the seventh position with a score of 134.4. A poor start from Pavel, with his first ten shots, severely dented his opportunities of making a mark in the finals.
Jan Luca Karstedt of Germany finished in the sixth position competing in his first finals. Trailing by 0.8 points behind the Iranian Erfan, he shot a brilliant 10.6 followed by a 9.8 to finish an agonizing 0.1 point behind to be eliminated.
Erfan Salavati of Iran could not accomplish the standard he had shown in the qualifiers, as he succumbed to the pressure in the finals. Trailing by 0.5 points before the eliminator, the Iranian ended up with shots of 9.0 and 9.2 to finish fifth with a score of 174.7.
In fourth place was Eldar Imankulov of Kazakhstan scoring 197, improving on his career-best finish of 10th in the 2016 World Cup at Gabala. With 0.2 points adrift of the Swiss shooter, he came up with an eye-catching 10.7 to surge ahead by 0.5 points. A 9.8 effort with his deciding shot put him back as the Swiss Solari responded with a sound 10.6 to ousted the Kazakh.
Jason Solari of Switzerland was 1.2 points adrift of the Silver. With an 8.4 effort in his twenty-first shot, he blew his chances settling for Bronze with a score of 215.6.
Yunho Sung of Korea had to be content with Silver after he was behind the Indian by a massive margin of 4.9 going into the decider. The Korean came up with a mediocre effort with his final two shots scoring 9.3 and 8.8 to finish with a score of 236.7.
As expected Saurabh Chaudhary of India who holds the World record with a score of 586 in the qualifiers and 245.5 in the Finals took the Gold. Leading from start to finish, he remained unchallenged in the finals to end up with a score of 244.2. In his 24 attempts in the finals, he only had six scores of nine with the rest of them finding the ten pointers.
The amazing consistency displayed by the Indian at a tender age of sixteen should augur well for India to stake a place for Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Gold Medal – Saurabh Chaudhary (IND) 244.2
Silver Medal - Yunho Sung (KOR) 236.7
Bronze Medal - Jason Solari (SUI) 215.6