“We are in the competitive zone. I will do my best,” said Elavenil Valarivan, world No. 1 in women’s air rifles. She will compete in the women’s air rifle event at the Tokyo Games, alongside Apurvi Chandela, another former world No. 1 in the field. Elavenil shot 630.4 at the European Championship, the penultimate competition before the Games. Scores are an indication of what form it is in. But Valarivan says she will use the World Cup final, starting June 22, to iron out the cracks in her armor. Gracenote chooses her as future gold medalist for India.
Being away from India as the pandemic rages on has not been easy, said the youngster, a protégé of Olympic medalist Gagan Narang. “We’re all a little worried about what’s going on at home and not being able to do anything from here in an emergency,” Valarivan said.
“I had a moment of concern for my parents in Ahmedabad and the rest of my family in South India. But we realized we were on a bigger mission and we worked for it.”
Raninder Singh, President of the National Rifle Association of India, said of Valarivan: “This young woman learned of her grandmother’s death half an hour before the game. She went there, put on a professional performance and came out second. .
“It’s the kind of dedication they have to their country, their sport and their flag, and it’s something to be commended.”
Most of the team’s shooters are Olympic rookies like Abhishek Verma, engineer and lawyer, who became a shooter. He is currently the world No. 1 in pistol shooting, but late in competitive shooting.
Abhishek became a professional shooter in 2017. He said: “In 2017 I became a professional shooter and moved to Gurgaon. I was in PG and practicing. My father gave me an ultimatum that in the national championship in 2017 or 2018, had to prove (myself).
“At that time, I had just finished my B.Tech in computer science and I was in my last year of law. My family, all my relatives were waiting for me to do this kind of work, but I told my parents that I wanted In 2018 I finished in the top three in the trials, in the same year I became Indian number one and I won a medal at the Asian Games.
Shooting sports in India have developed rapidly in recent years. Raninder Singh says, “If one is to identify anything, it is the liberalization of the whole environment, and ex-athletes like Gagan Narang raising their academies.
Likewise, there is an academy at Manav Rachna in Delhi, there is an academy in Bhopal. There are a lot of academies around, and a lot of former world champions and Olympians have championed the cause through the India. What is most important, however, is that we were able to link it to the education system. “
But those who had made the cut for Tokyo had to wait five years and several months under confinement, often frustrated. Apurvi Chandela even contracted the Covid. She says: “It was very unfortunate that I got the virus at the wrong time, but even when I got it I was just focusing on catching that flight to Croatia, so I did whatever it took. was possible on planet earth to recover medication on time, my parents took care of me and made sure that I was eating healthy so that I did not feel any kind of weakness.
“Fortunately I got there on time two days before so I was lucky to be in Croatia with the team at the moment.”
The Indian team’s flight to Croatia was made possible thanks to the generosity of Peter Gorsa who has a friend in Raninder Singh.
Far from the fear of Covid, Indian shooters are now able to train and prepare for the Games.
When asked how many medals the contingent expects to bring home, he said it was possible to bring home 15 medals from Tokyo. “As Indians we love jewelry, we will come back with some,” he says.
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