India's teenage shooting sensation Shapath Bharadwaj won the hearts of millions with his outstanding performance in the double trap event of the ISSF World Cup (senior) in Larnaka, Cyprus on Wednesday.
Representing the country in the senior double trap team at the age of 15, Shapath has created history in shooting sports by playing final of a World Cup event.
Shapath is the youngest player in the world to enter the final stage of the World Cup, breaking the record of India's yesteryear double trap shooter Asher Noria, who had played the final in the Commonwealth Games of 2010 at the age of 18 years.
Shapath, however, could not win a medal as he finished sixth in the final and fourth in the qualifiers of the competition with a third highest score of 135.
Calling his performance 'absolutely amazing' and 'unbelievable', Ronjon Sodhi, the former World Champion in Double trap said that he has not seen a player of his age shooting in the ISSF World cup final.
For Shapath, Sodhi is his mentor as it was the one who had first recognised the shooting talent in him in 2014 after he won the state championship in Uttarakhand. It was Sodhi who requested Yogendra Pal Singh ' Yogi' to give coaching to Shapath. Since then, Yogi is Shapath's coach and the man behind his success.
"Whatever I am today is because of Yogi Bhaiya and Ronjon Bhaiya," says Shapath who shares a great bond with them besides the Chief Coach of team India (Junior) Vikram Singh Chopra.
Shapath also attributed his success to his mental trainer Seema Sharma. The whole shooting fraternity is hailing the performance of this young shooter, who brought accolades to the country at such a tender age.
The start was not as expected for Shapath in this match on Wednesday. In the first round, Shapath scored 24/30 but he bounced back scoring a perfect 30 in the third round and 27 in each of the three following rounds scoring a total of 135/150.
Shapath won his shoot off getting the better of the much more experienced and former World Cup gold medalist Italian Davide Gasparini, shooting 22 to Davide's 21.
He, however, reached his maiden final when he qualified on a 22 shot shoot off in fourth position out of the top six, raising India's hopes for first medal in the competition. But the 15-year-old could not replicate his previous performance in the final and finished 6th with a score of 26/30.
Shapath's teammates Sangram Dahiya and Ankur Mittal finished 17th and 19th respectively with identical scores of 127.
"Shapath shot very well with great timing," said his teammate Ankur.
Pleased with this performance of Shapath, coach Yogi now wants to target the World championship and Commonwealth Games of 2018.
Congratulating the shooter on his outstanding performance, Jr Indian Shotgun team`s Chief Coach Vikram Singh Chopra, team manager Amarjung, principal of his school St Mary`s Academy Brother Babu Varghese and Geetambar Anand, President of CREDAI and his sponsors have extended best wishes for future competitions.
Shapath has many achievements and records to his name including that of a highest score of Juniors 139/150 which he scored during the 13th International Grand Prix at Porpetto in Italy last year, where he won two gold medals.