Saturday, January 9, 2021
Hriday Hazarika, an 18-year-old Junior World Champion from Assam topped the Men’s 10m air rifles trials on Saturday at T1 national selection trials at the Karni Singh Range, Delhi. His highest score in the finals was 253.2 which beat out the current world record of 252.8 by China’s Yu Haonan.
A resident of Narayanpur, Assam, the former world champion was unable to win a ticket to Tokyo Olympics 2021 core group of shooters but surely made up for it by setting a new world record. Second placed Aishwarya Pratap, with a score of 251.5 was on par with Hazarika for the first two rounds but slowly lagged behind soon after. Hazarika consistently hit the inner circle with five 10.8s and two 10.9s in the total 24-shots final round. Moreover, the two Olympic quota winners, Divyansh Panwar and Deepak Kumar could not even make it to the 8-man final after finishing 13th and 17th respectively.
Competing in his first match in almost a year, post pandemic, Hazarika expressed both nervousness and excitement for the upcoming season. “All the shooters are returning to competition after a long gap and everyone was struggling a bit to be in that zone. I also had some trouble towards the end of the qualification round but I am very happy with my final result”, he said.
Speaking to the media about his short hiatus after winning the title of Junior World Champion in 2018, Hazarika said that he went off the radar due to poor performance and not being able to make it to the senior team in 2019 which was a very important year for the Olympic cycle. He even sustained a few injuries. “I needed some rest and work on physical and technical aspects. After the lockdown, I thought this is the best time to do that. I trained hard with my physical trainer. I worked on muscle strengthening, stamina and endurance. I was doing a lot of running. All that has helped” said the 18-year-old.
Hazarika further expressed his gratitude to his father who made him a 10m shooting range at home in Assam. “We just had to import a few equipment which we did after the lockdown. So from August onwards I was able to train at my home range” he said.
Beating all odds, Hazarika was able to start the season with fulfilling results and a world record.
(Keep reading The Readers Time for latest updates on current happenings)