India’s performance in last year’s London Olympics is a sign that no sport in the country has grown like shooting, star air rifle shooter Anjali Bhagwat said yesterday.
“From having one medallist in Athens 2004 (Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s silver in double trap) to the country’s first individual Olympic gold medallist at Beijing 2008 (Abhinav Bindra in 10m rifle) and now two medals at the London Games (Gagan Narang’s bronze in 10m air rifle and Vijay Kumar’s silver in 25m rapid fire pistol), the trend shows that the sport in India has progressed by leaps and bounds.
And that can only be possible if more youngsters have access to good infrastructure,” the former World No 1 air rifle shooter emphasised at the launch of the Ajmera I-Land Academy’s shooting range in Wadala yesterday.
Anjali said youngsters today are lucky to be reaping the benefits of years of hardwork put in by shooters like herself and the Bindras and Narangs of the country. “When I took to shooting about 10 years ago, there were hardly a few 100 entries at national events. But today there are nearly 1000. This is a great sign,” she added.
Though the ex-World Champion is still active in the national shooting scenario, she is now more inclined towards coaching. “I always harboured the dream of winning an Olympic medal.
But after I failed in Athens despite putting in some crazy years of sweat and blood, I realised that maybe that’s not to be. So I’m happy with my world title. And I now look forward to performing in my new role as Maharashtra coach to identify and nurture future Olympic champions. I’m sure we will have a lot more medals in shooting at Rio 2016,” she signed off.