At 15, shooter Shapath Bhardwaj is youngest to figure in govt’s Olympic scheme
Shapath Bhardwaj, a class 10 student i n Meerut, first came into the spotlight when he was selected for India’s double trap team last year.other sports Updated: Aug 08, 2017 13:40 IST
Budding India shooter 15-year-old Shapath Bhardwaj has become the country’s youngest athlete to be named in the government’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.
The Meerut-based Bhardwaj, a student of class 10, is among 45 elite athletes, including Olympic medallists PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Saina Nehwal, to be selected for the scheme.
TOP Scheme Elite Athletes Identification Committee in the ministry of youth affairs and sports, which is chaired by ace shooter and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, selected the athletes after evaluating their performance in relation to the international standard.
The sports ministry has launched the TOPS with the aim of supporting medal prospects for the Olympics. The selected athletes will be provided financial assistance for their customised training at institutes with world class facilities and other necessary support.
Bhardwaj attracted the attention of the shooting fraternity when he was selected for India’s double trap team at the age of 14 after selection trails in Patiala in November last year.
He represented India along with his senior teammates Ankur Mittal and Sangram Dahya in the ISSF World Cup, Delhi in February and then at the ISSF World Cup in Mexico in April where he secured 10th and 12th ranks respectively.
He then secured the fourth position in qualifying round of the ISSF World Cup in Cyprus in May and topped the 22 shot shoot-off to enter the final where he finished sixth.
Bhardwaj participated in the ninth International Junior Shotgun Cup held in Finland in July and scored 137 out of 150 as India won the gold. He ended up winning the individual as well as team gold in the International Junior Grand Prix in Italy last year.
He will now represent India in the forthcoming ISSF Junior World Cup in Italy and ISSF World Championship in Moscow.