"Shooting improved her as a person," Elavenil Valarivan's mother after her gold at National Games
Elavenil Valarivan simply oozes confidence these days, but the 23-year-old rifle shooter was not always like that reveals her mother Saroja Valarivan.
Ahmedabad: Elavenil Valarivan simply oozes confidence these days, but the 23-year-old rifle shooter was not always like that reveals her mother Saroja Valarivan.
"Shooting has helped her (Elavenil) a lot in life. It has helped her improve her life. She is now a lot calmer, more confident, handles pressure a lot better," said Saroja to The Bridge minutes after her daughter bagged the 10m Women's Air Rifle gold at the ongoing 2022 National Games.
While Elavenil might have gotten better at handling pressure, Saroja herself is far from reaching that stage.
"I am sure I was more under pressure than Elavenil was when the scores were tied three-way at 241.0 with two just two more shots to go to decide the finalists," said the senior Valarivan as Elavenil chuckled with amusement in the background.
Competing in front of a very noisy home crowd, Elavenil Valarivan set aside the early jitters to defeat Karnataka's Tilottama Sen in the gold medal match.
"I was very excited to compete in Ahmedabad since not a lot of events happen here. It was worth it with the crowd and to win the gold with my mother watching was icing on the cake," said Elavenil.
"Whenever she (mother) gets time, she drops into my practice sessions to check in on how I am training," she added.
But, a proud Saroja Valarivan is far more invested in her daughter's achievements than both of them let out.
A professor by profession, Saroja knows almost all of Elavenil's counterparts by name and was even seen explaining the rules of the event, how to read a score sheet to a few in the venue, who had their share of struggles with the same.
"When your daughter is playing, you need to know everything. It all started as a hobby for her, we just let her be and let her do it," said Saroja.
The hobby, for sure, has given India a proper star, who is now all set to lead India at the 2022 ISSF World Shooting Championships – a year after her Olympic debut in Tokyo.
"This (National Games) was one of the preparatory events for the World Championships. I am glad that this one competition could help me refine my technique for the World Championships," Elavenil stated.
Though the World Championships is already in her mind, it is a far thought for Elavenil.
For now, she has her mind on something else. What?
"I absolutely love Garba, but have not had the chance to enjoy it this time due to the Games. Hopefully, tomorrow's the day I finally let loose after winning the mixed team event as well," Elavenil signed off talking about her love for Navratri.