Abhishek Verma’s selection in the Indian team had come in for a lot of criticism as he has had no prior experience of any international competition. The 29-year-old struggled in the 10m Air Pistol mixed team event and knives would have been out once again.
But on Tuesday, Verma showed that he was no pushover as he clinched the bronze medal with a score of 219.3.
Here is a brief description of the ‘hobby’ shooter who won a bronze medal to ensure that India had two shooters on the Asian Games podium for the first time ever.
Date of Birth: August 1, 1989
Event at Asian Games: Men’s 10m air pistol, pistol mixed team
Past performance (if any): N/A
Best performance so far: India debut on the international stage
Brief Description: The 29-year-old hobby shooter turned professional’s journey to the Asian Games is remarkable as it is unbelievable. He emerged as a surprise India No 1 in 10m air pistol, one of the most competitive shooting categories in the country beating the likes of Commonwealth Games 2018 medallists Jitu Rai and Om Prakash Mitharval and world no 1 Shahzar Rizvi. He started competing only three years ago, did not figure in the India top-10 until a year ago, and is yet to make his debut for India. The Haryana shooter sealed his spot in the Indian team for the Asiad after shooting 585 in qualification and then winning the gold beating Deepak Sharma, Jitu Rai and Amanpreet Singh in the Selection Trials 5 in June.
Before picking up a pistol, Verma has tried his hand at law, Indian Administrative Service and computer science. However, he found his true calling once he moved from his native Haryana to Gurgaon to train with coach Omendra Singh at the Eklavya Sports Shooting Academy.
The Nationals at the end of 2017 was the turning point of sorts as he put in some consistent scores since the 2018 season began.
Verma has also traveled with the Indian team to the ISSF World Cup in Munich and scored 585 in the Minimum Qualification Scores (MQS) category.