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How shooter Abhishek Verma turned a hobby into an Asiad medal

How shooter Abhishek Verma turned a hobby into an Asiad medal
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By

Akshat Mehrish

Published: 21 Aug 2018 9:04 AM GMT
"I picked up shooting as a hobby about three years ago when my father was posted in Hisar. I used to go to a gym there and got to know that there was a shooting range nearby. That's where I first picked up a gun." Abhishek Verma's words from a TOI interview echoed as he took his final shot. Verma knew about the fate that awaited him even as he took the final shot. When his shot finally hit the board, the Indian lowered his gun, waved at the fans, and retired from the shooting range. He was not going home empty-handed. Only two days earlier, The 29-year-old shooter had paired up with prodigy Manu Bhaker in the 10m Air Pistol team event. Much to the nation's disappointment, however, the Indian duo was eliminated in the qualifiers. The Shooting contingent had raised expectations after their stunning performance 'Down Under' months ago. The Indian shooters had taken the Commonwealth Games by storm, winning left, right, and centre. Abhishek Verma wasn't a part of the pack then. Instead, veterans Jitu Rai and Om Mitharwal were picked on that occasion. Fast forward four months, Verma was leading the pack in Men's Air Pistol events. Alongside him was youngster Saurabh Chaudhary. This morning, both of them took their respective place at the shooting range with a different, and one common, motives.

16-year-old Saurabh was looking to arrive in the limelight while Verma was looking to prove his doubters wrong.

Nevertheless, they both were looking to go back home with a medal in hand. Verma shot 219.3 and finished third, while his compatriot finished first with a score of 240.7. The whole nation was swayed by the teen sensation Saurabh, with few words spoken about Verma. The fact that the 29-year-old picked up the sport three years ago is still relatively unknown amongst the Indian crowd. Abhishek Verma was in Hisar when he came across Shooting as a competitive sport. The Rohtak-born shooter had accompanied his father, who was a sitting judge.
"I picked up shooting as a hobby about three years ago when my father was posted in Hisar,"
said Verma in a get-to-know-you interview with TOI, "I used to go to a gym there and got to know that there was a shooting range nearby. That's where I first picked up a gun." For the next three years, Verma climbed the shooting ladder quickly, participating in the All-India University Games and several Nationals. Earlier this year, he shot 585 in Munich and another 585 in Asiad trials. The Rohtak-born shooter beat Jitu Rai and Om Mitharval in the process and replaced them in the Asiad squad. Just three years ago, what had been a hobby for Abhishek Verma, propelled him to national and international fame. He was no longer a guy who was shooting just because there was a shooting range next to his gym. Instead, he was India's best shooter in his category going into the games. And when he took to the range, he certainly proved the same.
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