Commonwealth Games: Anish is the toast of Gold Coast
Haryana's Bhanwala, 15, becomes youngest Indian CWG champion after his triumph in 25m rapid fire pistol
India teenager Anish Bhanwala is all smiles after the 25m rapid fire pistol final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games yesterday. Pic/AFP
The story of a 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala becoming India's youngest gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games is a cause for a big celebration. While Anish won India's 16th gold medal in 25m rapid fire pistol taking India past their Glasgow tally, the morning also saw Tejaswini Sawant and Anjum Moudgil complete a gold-silver finish in the women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions.
An elated Anish said: "I'm very excited that I became the Commonwealth champion. I am the youngest athlete from India to win Commonwealth gold at 15. My next aim is the World Championships (in South Korea) and Asian Games (in Indonesia)."
Anish's win also bettered teammate Manu Bhaker's record of being the youngest at 16. Earlier in the week, Manu became the youngest Indian Commonwealth Games gold medallist emerging champion in the 10m air rifle finals. Going into the final, Anish was on top in the qualification round, scoring 580 points with teammate Neeraj Kumar second at 579 points. In the final Anish continued with the momentum.
In the eliminators, Anish continued to lead by four points over Australia's Sergei Evglevski, but Neeraj slipped. He exited finishing fifth. With the last three eliminators to go, Evglevski shot a 5/5 to bridge the gap between him and Anish to just two points and it become one as Anish had 25 points to the Australian's 24.
In the final eliminator Anish found the next five targets to go to 30 points and made it impossible for Evglevski to overtake him for gold.
Anish hails from Kashandi, Haryana and is coached by former CWG gold medalist Jaspal Rana, a multiple gold medallist at Commonwealth Games in the past. Anish won gold in the 25m standard pistol event at the junior World Championships last year, where he set a new junior world record in the qualification stage.
He also won a gold at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney. Last year, the teenager made heads turn when he won the 25m standard pistol gold with a world record score of 579 at the ISSF Junior World Championships, followed by silver in the 25m sport pistol at the same event. He also won another silver at the Commonwealth c'ships in Brisbane.