India bagged two medals on Day 5 of the Asian Games in Indonesia. Fifteen-year-old Shardul Vihan clinched silver in the men’s double trap shooting event becoming the youngest Indian shooter to win a medal at this year’s games. Ankita Raina emulated Sania Mirza, winning bronze in the single’s tennis category. She is the second Indian woman to win a Tennis medal at the Asian Games.
Shardul Vihaan was the youngest competitor when he stepped into the shooting range for the finals. The eventual winner, Hyunwoo Shin of Korea is 34 while the other five shooters were of ages 42, 38, 33 and 27. Shardul came one point behind the Korean, 73 to Shin’s 74. In the 80-shot finale, the Meerut lad held the lead for the first 36 shots. A PUB-G addict, the teenager played them with ease in the final rounds to hold on to his silver medal place.
Shardul’s pre-shot routine caught the eyes of many. Before every shot, he uses an empty shell to gauge the height to position his gun. Vikram Singh Chopra, the coach of India’s junior shotgun national team was quoted by Scroll.in, “In double trap, the first target is thrown at three meters and the second target is thrown at 3-and-half meters. The machine throws it at different angles, for example, machine No 7 throws it five degrees left, machine no 9 is five degrees right. So when you are changing your station, the angle changes. He was using an empty cartridge to take a tentative idea of his gun placement to reduce the moment down to break the target. It is a technical parameter taught to the kids in a double trap”.
Shardul took up the sport competitively at twelve-years-old in 2015. In this time, he has won the junior and senior events at the National Shooting Championship. With the double trap, not an Olympic sport anymore, the Asian medallist will now have to switch from double trap to a single trap shotgun.
Ankita Raina, the 25-year-old lost her semi-final match against world no.34 Zhang Shuai. In the 131-minute encounter, Ankita lost 4-6, 6-7 (6) to the Chinese.
After the match, Ankita said, “I came here to win gold. Hopefully, I can do that in the mixed doubles (with Bopanna). It was a tough match and I could have won. She is obviously an experienced player but I thought I could beat her.”
Ankita’s opponent was all praise for her after the match. “She played very well today. It was a tough match. If she keeps on playing this, she can get into the top-100 and maybe even top-50,” Zhang said.
Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan entered the men’s doubles final of the Asian Games. They will play their finals encounter on Friday against the pair of Bublik / Yevseyev. Prajnesh Gunneswaran when he outplayed Kwon Soonwoo of South Korea 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (8) in a marathon quarter-final lasting almost four hours.
The men’s kabaddi team suffered a shock defeat against Iran in the semi-finals. This is the first time since the sport’s inclusion in the Asian Games in 1990, that the Indian team has not entered the finals. Iran beat India 27-18 to enter the finals. The coach Ram Mehar Singh hit out at the captain Ajay Thakur for his “overconfidence”. “We lost the match due to the captain’s overconfidence, injury played a part and super tackle,” said the coach to PTI.
In squash men’s singles, Saurav Ghosal will take on Indian Harinder Pal Sandhu in the quarter-final assuring India another medal at the games. India’s numero uno players Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa also reached the quarter-finals of the women’s singles event.
INDIA’S MEDAL TALLY: Gold 5, Silver 4, Bronze12, Total 21