Anjum/Deepak or Apurvi/Aishwary: Which is the better mixed event duo for Tokyo Olympics?
While officially Anjum and Deepak are in the team, but Apurvi and Aishwary have been scoring better individually.
The inclusion of mixed events in the Tokyo Olympics 2020, has increased the medal hopes for India. The new team event has only been added to 10m air pistol, 10m air rifle, and trap events.
Indian shooting team has been dominant in the 10m mixed events, however, couldn't earn an Olympic berth in trap. The increase in the bench strength has allowed India to send 4 teams into the mixed events.
While it is crystal clear who will compete in 10m air pistol, the same is not the case for the rifle team. Officially it has been decided to pair up Elavenil Valarivan with Divyansh Singh Panwar and Anjum Moudgil with Deepak Kumar.
But, with the ups and downs in the performances, there have been rumors about replacing the duo of Anjum and Deepak with Apurvi and Aishwary.
The rise in Aishwary and Apurvi's performances
Aishwary Pratap Singh will compete for Indian in the 50m rifle, 3 positions, and Apurvi Chandela in the 10m air rifle women's event. While Anjum Moudgil will represent India in 50m rifle, 3positions event, and 10m air rifle mixed event alongside Deepak Kumar.
India had three options in women's event, so strategically it was decided to put one in individual and one in the mixed event. However, in the 2021 world cups, Deepak and Anjum Moudgil's performance has not been up to the mark compared to other 10m air rifle shooters.
The doubt came in when Aishwary Pratap Singh, a 50m Tokyo-bound shooter, entered the finals of 10m air rifle men's event at ISSF World Cup in Croatia. Pratap was the only Indian man standing in the finals, while the Tokyo-bound 10m air rifle shooters, Divyansh and Deepak couldn't even make it to the cut.
If Aishwary can outnumber other Indian shooters, him being in the 10m air rifle mixed event would be a better chance to clinch the podium finish. In the qualification round, Aishwary shot 628.0 while Deepak shot 626.0.
Whereas in the 10m air rifle women's event, Apurvi Chandela fared better than the other two Indians. Chandela scored 624.2 finishing at 24th position, while Anjum Moudgil shot 622.3 finishing at 42nd. None of these scores are good enough to reach the Olympic finals. But for Olympian Apurvi it has been better than her past performances in 2021.
Nonetheless, Anjum Moudgil and Deepak Kumar are also terrific shooters, but for the Olympic medal dream, India will have send the shooters who are more close to reaching their peak performances.
Just weeks before the Tokyo Olympics, Aishwary and Apurvi faring better than others might be a sign to switch them for the mixed events. According to sources, the duo of Apruvi and Aishawry have also started training together. No decision has been made yet in the change of team, but the NRAI will take the best one considering all the factors to create the best medal chances for India.