India has never won a gold medal at the Youth Olympics but the Indian shooters look all geared up to end this drought at the 3rd edition of the Youth Olympics which kicks-off in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Saturday.
India has so far won 10 medals in all but never a gold from the first two editions of the Games. In fact the shooters have not won any medal in any of the two editions but with four teenage shooting stars — Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh, Saurabh Chaudhary and Shahu Mane — in the Indian contingent, the spotlight will surely be on shooting.
Manu and Saurabh will be competing in the women’s and men’s 10m air pistol events respectively and can also pair up for the air pistol mixed event. Mehuli and Tushar can pair up for the air rifle mixed event apart from competing in their individual events. The schedule says mixed international team which means individuals from different countries making the pairs, depending on the individual performance.
Unlike the previous two editions, this time the Indian shooters have enough experience behind them. Manu, Mehuli and Saurabh are already big names in the world of shooting. They have been in top form throughout the year, winning medals at major international competitions this year like the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the ISSF World Cups.
Manu, who had won a gold at the Word Cup and at the Commonwealth Games, could not make it to the podium at the Asian Games. Even though her qualification scores were world class but she was not at her best in the finals. She looked dejected and this would be her chance to do what she does best, to be on the podium. Having the honour to be the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent will also do good to Manu’s confidence.
Saurabh looks in no mood to settle for anything less than the gold these days. He won the Asiad gold ahead of the World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan and followed it up with a gold and a world record at the World Championship. Infact his junior world record is even higher than the senior record. Saurabh is definitely the one to watch out for.
Mehuli, who had won the Commonwealth Games silver after a single shot shoot-off, is another shooter who can rewrite a world record on any given day. She had won the World Cup bronze earlier in the year and was part of the silver winning team in the recent World Championship.
It will be no surprise to see the fourth shooter, Shahu, on the podium. Till now, the youth bronze in the Asian Championship is the only international medal won by him but he is all geared up to shoot down another medal.