HYDERABAD: Asher Noria clinched gold for the second year in succession in the double trap event of the international shooting junior World Cup at Suhl, Germany on Wednesday.
Incidentally, Noria, mentored by World record-holder Ronjan Sodhi, is the only shooter in the world to ever have won this fiercely-contested championship twice and on the trot. His achievement is all the more remarkable in that he was on a year's hiatus from the sport while preparing for his ICSE Board standard XII examinations.
In the first two rounds, the Hyderabad prodigy seemed to be heading for a World record score, posting 50 and 48 respectively. His performance in the third however dipped to 42, leaving him with an aggregate of 140, which had the 17-year-old tied for the third position with compatriot Shayan Masood. Chianese Alessandro of Italy led the field with 142 until then.
In the final, it was a deadlock for the top spot between Noria and Alessandro, with both marksmen tallying 186.
In a tense tie-shoot, that is a showdown between the front-runners, where the first one to miss the clay bird target is eliminated, Noria, the headboy of the prestigious Hyderabad Public School (HPS) held his nerve and emerged triumphant. Masood finished fifth with 180.
In the team championship, India clinched bronze, behind Italy and Russia, who won gold and silver respectively.
Asher's next international outing will be the World Cup in Munich, Germany in July and hopes to join Georgia-Tech at Atlanta, in the United States to pursue studies in engineering from August.
The scores: 1. Asher Noria 140 (50 + 48 + 42) + 46=186 (India); 2. Chianese Alessandro 142 (48 + 46 + 48) + 44=186 (Italy); 3. Praj Philip 141 (46 + 47 + 48) + 44=185 (Slovakia) .