Guwahati: Merely a fortnight after returning with a silver medal at the World Cup in Azerbaijan, Assam shooter Hriday Hazarika clinched a gold medal in the men’s 10m Air Rifle event at the ongoing Khelo India University Games (KIUG) on Friday.
Representing Cotton University, Hazarika shot 252.5 to top the podium after a close contest with Punjab’s Arjun Singh Babuta (250.8) at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in Faridabad.
Shooting competitions at the Khelo India University Games 2022 Uttar Pradesh are being held in Faridabad.
Displaying exceptional skill and composure, Hazarika consistently maintained his lead throughout the competition before walking away with the winner’s title.
Hazarika, who has been in red-hot form of late, spent an hour at the range to check his equipment on the eve of his competition. Interestingly, the KSSR is home away from home for the promising 10m air rifle shooter. “I normally practice at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range when I am not travelling for international competitions,” Hazarika said.
“All is good. I did nearly one hour of practice and I am happy with the facilities,” he added.
Speaking on the level of competition at the event, the 21-year-old said, “The Khelo India University Games is a good platform to check my ability to perform under given circumstances as each competition and range is different.”
The rifle shooter also expressed his gratitude to Cotton University for being supportive in his endeavour to balance between studies and his shooting career. “The shooting calendar is packed. It hardly gives me time to attend college. I’m thankful to the college officials for supporting me,” he added.
After the KIUG, Hazarika will compete in a domestic competition in June followed by national selection trials in July to cement his place for the August 14 to September 1 Baku World Championship, which is an Olympic qualification event.
“The domestic selection trials will also be challenging. There are at least five to six 10m rifle shooters who are capable of earning three available positions for the Indian team,” the promising Assam shooter said.
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India has already earned one Paris Olympic Games quota place in the men’s 10m air rifle event through Rudrankksh Patil. At the Baku World Championship in August, the national team will be eligible to earn one more quota place for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) policy allows each national team to field two shooters in one Olympic discipline.
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