Shardul ready to make jump to trap events, says coach

Shardul Vihan. PTI

When 12-year-old Shardul Vihan’s father brought him to Anwer Sultan for coaching, the Olympian trap shooter first put him through some tests. He made him play other sports such as table tennis and badminton, only to assess his reflexes. Once he was convinced the youngsters possessed the requisite traits, did he choose to take him under his wing.

Shardul proved to be a good decision for Anwer, an Asian Championship double gold medalist. Within the first year of coaching, the teenager made his mark in national championships and gave confidence to Anwer he was ready to take the flight to the upper echelons.

On Thursday, as the 15 year-old finished runner-up in the double trap event at Palembang, Anwer was a proud man. “To do this at 15 is a very big thing. He shot beautifully, and I feel he should have got a gold medal here. But then he got a bit unlucky,” Anwer told DH.

The ninth-grade student first grabbed attention when he bagged four gold medals in a single day at the 61st National Shooting Championship in 2017. “Shardul has wonderful reflexes and a good memory. He showed quick results at both junior and senior events. For young boys, it is easy not to take pressure. It’s more about sticking to the right technique. We also went to Italy to train for 45 days before Asian Games which helped,” said Anwer who is based in Shamli district of Uttar Pradesh.

Shardul will now be shifting to the trap event with double trap no longer an Olympic event. “He will be leaving for the World Championship in Korea, and I am happy he is in the senior team. I hope he will perform equally good there. Once he returns, I will prepare him for trap. It will take a bit of adjustment, as in trap you don’t know where the target is coming from. They come at faster speed and thus requires faster reflexes, but Shardul is ready for the change,” he said.

The Meerut boy is latest in the list of teenage shooters who have been getting medals on the big stage. Earlier, 16-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary won gold in 10M air pistol and Lakshay Sheoran, 19, won silver in trap in this edition of the Asian Games.

“One of the key reasons for young shooters doing well is that they begin early and are coached by Indian shooters who have done well at international level. Also, one has to credit our (NRAI) president (Raninder Singh) whose efforts resulted in government amending the arms and ammunition act five years ago. Thanks to it even junior shooters have access to licensing norms.

“Earlier the age limit was 18 years. All this has really helped our youngsters to flourish,” he said.

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Shardul ready to make jump to trap events, says coach

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