Asian Games 2018: In Saurabh Chaudhary’s village, roaring welcome awaits ‘golden’ boy

Saurabh Chaudhary on Tuesday became only the fifth Indian shooter to claim a gold in the Asian Games history, beating a field of multiple world and Olympic champions in the 10m air pistol finals in Palembang, Indonesia. (Asian Games Day 3 LIVE)

While his feat earned the 16-year old a cash award of Rs 50 lakh and a job promise from Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath back in his native village Kaleena, the reaction is one of joy.

The entire village was seen dancing on the beats of a ‘Dhol’ while holding pictures of Saurabh and distributing sweets to each other.

“He (Saurabh) has made us proud,” said Neeraj, Saurabh’s neighbour while offering sweets to visitors.

“This celebration is just the beginning. We are now anxiously waiting to give him a roaring welcome back home,” said Suresh Pal, his friend.

Saurabh’s father Jagmohan Chaudhary, a farmer who owns 15 bigha land, was overwhelmed. Expressing gratitude to the state government for the award, he said, “Saurabh deserves more like players of Haryana.”

ALSO READ: Asian Games 2018: 16-year old Saurabh Chaudhary beats former world champion to win gold

Earlier, the family remained glued to the TV to watch Saurabh’s performance. Minutes after he won the gold, his mother Brijesh said, “What you see is an outcome of three years of Saurabh’s hard work and elders’ blessings.”

His fellow shooter Pankaj Choudhary said, “Shooting is Saurabh’s life and his ultimate goal is to win a medal for the country at the Olympics.”

He recalls how Saurabh once attended a shooting range in neighbouring Binauli village and got fascinated by their guns.

It was in 2015, when Saurabh told his father that he wanted to join shooting. Initially his father was reluctant but accepted his demand after much pursuance.

While granting permission was easy, getting his son a sports pistol worth Rs 1.75 lakh was a herculean task.

“I had to borrow money from some of my relatives and friends. In fact, half of the debt amount is yet to be returned,” he said while his uncle Brijmohan insisted on showing a single target shooting range Saurabh has installed in one of the rooms of his small home.

“The shooting range is a reflection of his commitment and passion. He practices for hours here,” he said.

A ‘desi’ at heart, Saurabh is fond of using indigenous techniques to improve the strength of hand muscles.

“He used to squeeze wet jute to strengthen his fingers to improve his shooting skills,” said his father.

For his fellow shooters, Saurabh is a composed and calm boy who seldom wastes time in watching movies, television or on a smartphone.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 19:32 IST

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