Was hoping for a medal from Saurabh, but he has a bright future: Vijay Kumar

India’s shooting ace and winner of the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games, Vijay Kumar, said that 10m air pistol marksman Saurabh Chaudhary may have missed winning a medal on Saturday, but the potential he has will see him emerge stronger in the years to come.

Everyone had high hopes for a medal from him and Chaudhary lived up to that when he topped the qualification round with a score of 586. But he made a quick exit in the finals to finish seventh on a day when three other shooters in action — pistol ace Abhishek Verma and the women’s 10m air rifle duo of Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan – failed to impress despite their top billing.

“Somewhere I feel sad that some of the best players in air pistol and air rifle… It was a great opportunity for Saurabh, given his previous achievements. Everyone had high hopes that he would win a medal. In fact, we all were also expecting a medal from him,” said Vijay Kumar, who had won the rapid fire pistol silver in London.

“But, I would say there was no lack of effort on his part… he gave it his all. No one wants to lose deliberately. I think being a youngster, probably. We can only predict from here that he probably took a lot of pressure on himself, and probably (was) not able to handle that pressure,” said Vijay, who is a DSP in Himachal Pradesh.

“But what exactly was the situation and what went through his mind would only be known when he has a one-to-one (with his coaches). On the positive side, it’s a very good thing that our player topped the qualification round, although he disappointed (everyone) in the final. I think he will have to work a bit more on that (mental aspect). He has a very bright future and age is on his side, so we can hope he will do better in the coming years,” averred Vijay Kumar.

He felt that it was a big positive that India had won a medal on the first full day of competition at the Olympics, which would keep the motivation level high in the contingent for the duration of the Games.

“It’s a very good thing that India have opened their medal account on the opening day itself. Mostly Indians win medals on the fourth or fifth day or even the last day of the Olympics and we keep hoping for a medal all along.

“This (Mirabai Chanu’s silver medal) will keep motivating the players for the next 8-9 days to give their heart and soul in their respective events.”