“We are in a competitive area. I will put my best foot forward,” says Elavenil Valarivan, the world’s No. 1 Women’s Air Rifle. She will take part in the Women’s Air Rifle event at the Tokyo Games, along with Apurvi Chandela, the world’s first regular number one. Elavenil has shot 630.4 in the European Championship in the penultimate competition before the Games. Scores are an indicator of what its shape is. But Valarivan says he will use the last World Cup to iron out Chinks in his armor from June 22nd. Gracenote chooses it as a gold medal for India.
The outbreak of the pandemic has not been easy to get away from India, says the supporter of Olympic medalist Gagan Narang. “We’re all worried about what’s going on at home and the inability to do anything from here in an emergency,” Valarivan says.
“I had a moment of concern for my parents in Ahmedabad and the rest of my family in southern India. But we realized we had a bigger mission and we have been working towards that.”
Raninder Singh, president of the National Rifle Association of India, says of Valarivan: “This young lady found out that her grandmother had died half an hour before the match. She went there, gave a professional performance and came out second.
“That’s their dedication to their country, their sportsmanship and their flag, and it’s commendable.”
Most of the team’s shooters are first-time Olympians, like Abhish, who became Verma, an engineer and a lawyer who became a shooter. Today, he is the world number one in pistol shooting, but he came in late in competition shooting.
Abhish became a professional shooter in 2017. They said this: “I became a professional shooter in 2017 and moved to Gurgaon. I was in PG and I was practicing. My father gave me an ultimatum in 2017 or in the national championship for 2018, I had to prove it (myself).
“I had just finished B.Tech in Computer Science at the time and I was in my final year of law. My family, all my relatives, expected me to do a job like that, but I told my parents that in 2018 I finished in the top three in the Test, India’s number one in the same year I became and won the medal at the Asian Games.
Indian shooting sports have grown rapidly in recent years. Raninder Singh says, “If anything needs to be determined, it’s the liberalization of the whole environment, and former athletes like Gagan Narang bring their academies.
“There’s also an academy in Manav Rachna in Delhi, there’s an academy in Bhopal. There are a lot of academies around, and a lot of former world champions and Olympians have taken up the cause all over India. The most important thing is this: we could. “
But those who made the cut to Tokyo had to wait five years and several months under Lockdown, often frustrated. Apurvi Chandela also hired Covid. He says: “It was very unfortunate to have taken the virus at a bad time, but even when I did, my focus was to take that flight to Croatia, so I did everything possible to recover on planet Earth: take medication on time, my parents took care of me and made me healthy that I ate so that they would not feel any weakness.
“Luckily, I did it on time two days earlier, so I’ve been lucky enough to be with the team in Croatia right now.”
The Indian team made the flight to Croatia possible thanks to the generosity of Peter Gorsa, a friend of Raninder Singh.
Far from Covide’s fear, Indian shooters are able to train and prepare for games.
When Raninder was asked how many medals the contingent hoped to bring home, he said it was possible to bring home 15 medals from Tokyo. “We’ll be back with some Indians who love jewelry,” he says.
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