India had a rough opening on day 1 of the 2021 ISSF World Cup in Croatia. 10m being India's best shot at medals, the nation clinched only one medal.
Indian shooting star Saurabh Chaudhary won the bronze medal in the 10m air pistol men's event. While Abhishek Verma finished at the 5th position missing out on the podium finish.
Is the 10m air pistol men's team India's strongest team?
Day one saw some intense matches between the World top shooters and Olympians. The pressure ahead of the Tokyo Olympics was visible in a lot of shooter's performances.
Saurabh Chaudhary was the only Indian to win a medal today. While only five out of ten shooters advanced for the finals.
Even after the competition level increasing because of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Saurabh fared well at the World Cup.
Both Saurabh and Abhishek scored 581 in the qualification round and advanced for the finals. Notably, even after hitting two series of 95, Abhishek made a strong comeback.
While Saurabh had a good start with 98, he scored 95 in 2nd series. But Saurabh controlled his game and went from 96 in next to 98, 98 and finishing at 96 in the last series.
Javad Foroughi, who had clinched the gold medal in the New Delhi World Cup, continued his form and won the gold. Serbian shooter Damir Mikec defeated Saurabh by 1.6 points to clinch the silver medal. Taking the match level high, Javad and Damir shot a series of 100 in their qualification rounds.
In the finals, Saurabh was able to defeat shooters who finished above him in the qualification rounds. The young shooter is an epitome of confidence as he also was an early finisher in the qualification rounds.
Do Abhishek and Saurabh have a better shot at the Olympic medal?
Competing in the last mega-event before the Tokyo Olympics can overwhelm and pressure must be sky-high. The World Cup is a chance for shooters to test their game and mental strengths.
But, even after the pressure, Saurabh clinched the medal. Chaudhary is known for his concentration and calmness. He always has his game face on and has been the most consistent at international matches.
While every match is a different day, how shooters perform at World Cup is a preview of their form. Abhishek couldn't reach the podium, but he made it to the top six. This was also not an easy task, considering the rise in competition.
The predictions about Saurabh Chaudhary winning his maiden Olympic medal seem realistic with his stellar run at the ISSF World Cup. Albeit, Abhishek also has an optimistic chance as he also had a decent run.