Tokyo Olympics 2020: India's 19-year-old Saurabh Choudhary qualifies for 10M Air Pistol final
- Saurabh Chaudhary topped the qualifying charts
- He is competing in his maiden Olympics
- Abhishek Verma failed to finish in the top eight
India's 19-year-old shooter Saurabh Chaudhary fired his way into the final of the men's 10M Air Pistol event by finishing at the top of the qualifications with a terrific show in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Saturday.
Competing in his maiden Olympics, Choudhary shot a total of 586 in the qualifications round, including a perfect 100 in the fourth series and followed that with two consecutive 98 as he made it to the eight-man final showdown.
Another Indian shooter in the category, Abhishek Verma, failed to make it to the cut by finishing 17th in the table with 575.
In the 10M Air Pistol qualification, each shooter fires six series of 10 shots each with the qualifying of the top eight based on cumulative scores.
While Choudhary was as calm and composed as always, his friend and roommate Verma struggled at the Akasa Range.
An Asian Games and Youth Olympics gold medallist, Chaudhary started off in a great manner, shooting 10 out of 10 before slipping in the second part of the first series. He ended the first series on 95. After slipping to 19th place, the teenager shot back through the field of 36 to being closer to the top eight qualifying spots. Once he reached the safe zone, he continued to fire perform well.
Choudhary will now be up against multiple World and Olympic champions in Chinese shooters Pang Wei, Zhang Bowen and Serbian Damir Mikec. Meanwhile, Korean legend and four-time Olympic champion Jin Jin Jongoh could not make the finals.
The three-time World Cup winner, Verma, started off with a 94 in his first series. But he bounced back and began to march his way up the leaderboard. However, two 8s and two 9s in the last series ended his Tokyo Games 2020 campaign.
Chaudhary and Verma have been the two best Air Pistol shooters in the world over the past three years, with both taking turns to be World No. 1. According to the latest ISSF Rankings for the ongoing summer Olympics, Verma is the top-ranked shooter in the 10M Air Pistol event ahead of second-placed Chaudhary.