In dark skies and blistering winds, India’s Rajat Chauhan created a sensational upset, when he defeated World Cup Champion, Martin Damsbo of Denmark in compound elimination session of the ongoing World Archery Championships in Turkey on October 2, 2013. Chauhan took a one point lead in the first round, and maintained it through the end, to oust Damsbo 143-142. In some of the other Men’s matches played that day, Sébastien Brasseur of France and Dietmar Trillus of Canada were tied at 114-114; Julio Ricardo Fierro of Mexico defeated Korea’s Min Lihong and Shaun Teasdale of New Zealand beat Roberto Hernandez of El Salvador in shoot off after a tight finish. The tournament ends on October 6, 2013.
Rajat Chauhan hails from Jaipur and even as young boy, he was mad after archery. But he didn’t have the proper equipment required for the game. Seeing her son’s deep penchant for the sports, his mother pawned her gold ornaments and raised Rs. 2 lakhs, so that her son could buy an imported archery kit. Chauhan was also helped by former India international Jayanti Lal, who was impressed by the youngster’s skills with the bow and arrows.
Chauhan began his career by participating in junior and sub-junior categories, but when he performed like a master at the 2012 at Senior National Championships in Jamshedpur, he was not only drafted in India’s senior team but travelled to Bangkok in February 2012 to represent the country in the Asian Grand Pre-2012 Archery Competition. Thus began the international career of the 18-year old Rajat Chauhan. In the final of the Compound category at Bangkok, Chauhan came face-to-face with compatriot Boma Jignas. Both Chauhan and Jignas struck accurately and the match was tied at 144-144. The decision had to be reached by a final shoot out. In the end, Chauhan had to remain content with the silver medal as Jignas hit the Bull’s Eye and Chauhan’s arrow missed the Eye by a hair’s breadth.
In May 2012, Chauhan went to Turkey to participate in the compound category and narrowly lost to Braden Gellenthien of the US in the quarterfinals.
In the Archery World Cup Stage 1 held in Shanghai during May 2013, Chauhan was the lone Indian to reach the quarterfinals in compound event, where he lost to Dave Cousins of the USA, 144-146. His progress in the tournament was commendable, especially in the pre-quarterfinal match against Germany’s Laube, where Chauhan amazingly produced six 10s, when he trailed 86-87 at mid-way stage. In the end, he managed to beat Laube 146-144. In the same tournament, Chauhan was placed at no. 7 in the Teams’ event.
On June 23, 2013, 3rd National Ranking Archery Tournament was held at the Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi, where in the Men’s compound Gold medal match, Chauhan defeated Delhi’s Abhisek Verma 146-139.
Chauhan’s next international tournament was the Archery World Cup Stage II at Antalya, Turkey in June 2013, where he along with compatriot Manjudha Soy lost out by a solitary point in the compound mixed team final to win the silver medal. The Indians were not as heralded as their Italian world champion opponents, Sergio Pagni and Marcella Toniolli, regardless; Chauhan and Soy took the match to a thrilling contest before losing 149-150
In July 2013, Chauhan was an inspiring force in his team winning a bronze medal in the Archery World Cup stage III in Medellin, Colombia.
It is difficult to predict the outcomes of the World Archery Championships, which will last until October 6, 2013, but going by Chauhan’s current form and his match against Martin Damsbo, it would be no surprise if he helps India win a medal or two.
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