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Asiad 2018: At 16, Saurabh is a phenomenon, feels Joydeep Karmakar

Kolkata: Moments after Saurabh Chaudhary bagged gold in the Men's 10 metre Air Pistol final at the Asian Games, former Olympian Joydeep Karmakar hailed the teenager's composure and added that he is hopeful of a rich haul from the Indians at the ISSF World Shooting Championships starting later this month.

"I am amazed by the composure. He is a phenomenon. At 16, he is surely not shooting for a long time. But contrary to popular belief, he is not restless and has shown nerves of steel," Karmakar told IANS after the 16-year-old produced an Asian Games record score of 240.7.

"The World Championships (August 31 - September 14) are coming up and these are really good signs for Indian shooting. We have some very promising talent and Saurabh is just an example," said Karmakar who missed a bronze medal in the 50m prone event by less than two points at the 2012 London Olympics.

Besides Saurabh, Abhishek Verma bagged bronze in the same event scoring 219.3 to take India's medal tally to seven. He had finished sixth during the qualification round.

Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan secured the silver with 239.7. He and Saurabh pulled away for the gold medal battle with points of 220.1 and 220.5 respectively as Abhishek was eliminated with 219.3 points after eight series.

Karmakar pointed out that Saurabh's score of 586 in the qualification round is top-draw and he can challenge any player going into the World Championships given his form.

"You are competing with the best at the Asian Games. China, Korea and (Chinese) Taipei have some of the world's finest players. So with a score of 586 which is top class by any standard, I fancy Saurabh to do well at the World Championships too. He has a level head on his shoulders."

The World Championships will be held in Changwon, South Korea. "Shooters are regularly coming fifth and fourth. These are encouraging signs too. I know we always think of medals and that is the yardstick but for the health of the sport going forward, I think we are improving. We are coming close to winning a medal more often," Karmakar said.

Shooters Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar had helped India open its account at the 18th Asian Games with a bronze in the rifle mixed team shooting event.

But Apurvi missed out on a podium finish in the 10m Air Rifle Women event, finishing fifth with a score of 186.0.

"Apurvi has also been doing really well. She missed out on a medal yesterday as she was playing so well," Karmakar signed off.

In the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event, experienced Sanjeev Rajput grabbed a silver medal.

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