India archer Rajat Chauhan is expectedly elated at winning a second straight medal at the Asian Games but there is one more thing the 24-year-old is equally kicked about – clearing his 12th exams after a fifth attempt.
The happy-go-lucky Chauhan, who won the compound team gold at the previous Asian Games, has accomplished a lot as an archer.
"Jee who kahawat abhi bhee lagu hain. Padoge likhoge banoge nawab, kheloge kudoge hoge kharab (you will make it big if you are educated, sports won’t lead you anywhere). It is still taken very seriously in my family. More than that, the fact that I have cleared after so many attempts gives me a lot of satisfaction." - Rajat Chauhan
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Having finally completed school, he is excited about college and is already looking forward to the World University Games.
"Hopefully, I won't take that long to finish college. I don't have a job also, so education is important for me. It also gives me social acceptance," he said.
Chauhan is without a job despite bringing laurels to the country, having won a record silver at the World Championships in 2015. His jovial nature keeps the spirits in the team high and is also acknowledged by mates Abhishek Verma and 21-year-old Aman Saini.
His consistency at shooting 10s is remarkable as he is often the last to shoot, which leads to an additional pressure. He weighs 90 kgs but even that is not an issue for Chauhan.
"Jee weight to kam ho jayega. Beech mein behen kee shadi thee to badh gaya tha (gained weight during my sister's wedding). Age anyway is not an issue in archery. Last time we won gold with a little bit of luck, today we got a silver even when we should won have won gold. It happens," said Chauhan, referring to the team's painful loss against South Korea via a shoot-off.
His fan and another interesting character in the compound team is Delhi-based Saini, who chose archery after winning national level medals in a contrasting sport like Taekwondo.
"In taekwondo, you hit each other and in archery you hit after each other. It brings me peace," said Saini, who just graduated from Delhi University.
To keep him calm at all times, he has gotten into the business of fish collection.
"I have got 12 aquariums and have imported fishes from Thailand, China and Indonesia. But the special one is flower horn. She is very aggressive so I keep her alone in the aquarium," added Saini.
(Published in an arrangement with PTI.)
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