The last year of the first decade of the second millennium, 2019 has been one of the massively rewarding years for Indian shooters. Such has been their dominance that almost every shooting championship across the globe had an Indian at the podium. Perhaps, the year has been one of the most glorious years in Indian shooting history.
The credit completely goes to the enormously talented youth shooting brigade for showing utmost resilience and discipline, the two main ingredients to excel at the highest level. Talking about medals, the shooters got home 30 medals which included 21 gold medals, six silver medals and three bronze medals. This helped the country to top all the Rifle-Pistol World Cups and Finals in 2019. In the 10m field Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan are finishing the year as world number one, two and three respectively.
The perfect icing on the cake is that Indians collectively secured 15 Olympic quotas for 2020 Tokyo Olympics by virtue of their best finishes at various international events. This is now a record and the characters of these young shooters will be tested at the quadrennial event. It should also be noted that India’s outing at the Rio Olympics four years ago did not yield much in terms of performance.
The expectations now are skyrocket and a few podium finishes at Tokyo 2020 is due to the country considering the depth of talent and flair the shooters possess. They do have competition from all corners but this is what makes sports interesting, the competition and the uncertainty of outcome. Everyone is hopeful that the trailblazers will carry their top form to Tokyo and be rewarded in tandem with the hours of practice and perseverance they have put in.
An Olympic medal is a highly coveted and supremely satisfying thing for any athlete. With the shooters hitting the bull’s eye every now and then it will be engrossing to see how they keep up with the enormous pressure of the Olympic Games as the world and the country watches them.