Could Apurvi Chandela reap the most from her experience and strike success at Tokyo Olympics?
10m air rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela will make her second innings at the Olympic games as she competed in the Rio Olympics 2016.
While most of the 15-member Indian shooting contingent will compete in their maiden Olympics, some shooters in the fray have had the experience before. 10m air rifle women shooter Apurvi Chandela is going to make her second innings at Tokyo Olympics, after competing in Rio Olympics 2016.
The journey from sports journalism to Olympic medal dream
The Jaipur shooter was inclined towards sports journalism and aspired to become one. However, Abhinav Bindra's gold medal inspired the Tokyo-bound shooter to take up shooting sport.
Standing behind her as a pillar of support, Apurvi's dad and uncle provided her all the resources, including constructing a range in their backyard.
Chandela shot to fame in 2014 by clinching the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. In 2015 she had a stellar run and made it to the Rio Olympics 2016. However, one day before the match, the rifle shooter couldn't sleep properly and had an early exit from the Olympics.
In 2019 she again made a comeback by winning 5 medals at the ISSF World Cups. Chandela has been training under coach Rakesh Manpat. Apurvi also has a world record in her name in the 10m air rifle women's event.
She clinched the Olympic berth for Tokyo Olympics 2021 and made it to the team. The start of 2021, however, was not great for Olympian Apurvi Chandela.
During the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, she couldn't advance for the finals. Out of 3 women rifle shooters, only Anjum Moudgil advanced for the final round of the 10m air rifle event.
The reason for the downfall of ace shooters performance is said to be the reduction in her weight. In rifle events, shooters have to wear specialized clothing. But because of Apurvi losing weight, her old kit didn't fit her well. The extreme pressure and difficulty to shoot were visible as she missed out on clicking the trigger within the time frame.
However, in the ISSF World Cup, Croatia Apurvi Chandela did better than the other Tokyo-bound 10m rifle shooters, Anjum Moudgil, and world top Elavenil Valarivan.
There has been a bit of rise in her performance, keeping the 10m shooter in the contention for the Olympic medal. While there is a slight chance maiden Olympic players might flake out due to pressure, Apurvi Chandela has prior experience of the Olympics. Shooting under world cup pressure and Olympic pressure is different. If Chandela can reach her peak performance like in 2015 and 2019, she can reach the podium.