Competition at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Delhi finally began today with the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event. Two Indians of the squad- Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil finished second and eighth with scores of 629.3 and 628 respectively. This was the first of two qualifying relays and it is also pertinent to note that India have already won the two maximum Olympic quota spots in the event. However, at the end of the relay, more attention was on young Mehuli Ghosh than on the two Indians in the National squad in line for the finals.
The reason was quite simple. Mehuli Ghosh, competing for a minimum qualification score that would ensure her continued eligibility to participate in future ISSF-sanctioned events, had scored 631 in the qualifying round- more than what China Zhu Yingjie (who topped the first relay) did. Ghosh, had earlier missed out on a spot in the National squad for the shooting World Cup. Needless to say, her performance did leave her camp quite ecstatic.
“Sitting in the stands and watching her perform in high pressure situations is often quite scary,” says Mitali Ghosh to The Bridge after Mehuli’s event. “I have watched her perform before but never at a World Cup- I have noticed that the more scared I get, the more her performance dips. It’s like we are connected in a way,” she laughingly adds.
Mehuli, on the other hand, takes a calm lesson from her performance today. In between doting hugs from her parents which prompted her to say, “I may be a teenager but here I am a senior shooter” in an exasperated tone, she mentions that she is staisfied with her performance today but a lot of work still remains to be done.
“It was interesting match and in the middle, I did struggle a bit,” she adds. “But I am happy about the way I overcame the dip and continued fighting.”
About how this performance would affect her preparation for the rest of the year, she says, “It showed me where I have work still left to do- a little muscle technique and attention to diet is required to build up a better stamina. Once I get back home, I will do that- I think I need to start giving a priority to a sort of medium-heavy breakfast everyday because today, at the beginning of match, I had a rocky start because I was quite hungry.”
Talking about the takeaways from her performance today, Mehuli concedes that she needs to learn how to recognise the perfect time to take a break between shoots. “Today, I took the break later than I usually do and I had a muscle tremor during some of my shots.”
Her coach Joydeep Karmakar has always treated every individual success as the chance to make the young shooter better. Upon hearing that Mehuli had answered yes to whether or not she was satisfied with her performance he gives a short, encouraging laugh.
“Sitting in the stands, there were definitely a few issues which I discussed sitting in the stands with Mehuli’s parents,” he says. “She is right on track.”
“631 any day is a good score. It’s not the best but it is something that can be worked with.”
Refering to her performance in training yesterday which he had earlier described as “could be better,” he says, “She did make things better so that is something to be happy about.”
“It definitely was not an easy match- I could understand that the last series of shots was slightly more challenging and more difficult for her. But despite that she scored a 105.5 in the last series which is wonderful,” he added.
“I would not say I am fully satisfied but I can say that we will work more and maybe Mehuli will be a better shooter next time.”
[At the time of writing this article, Elavenil Valarivan, India’s third member in the 10m Air Rifle (women) contingent was yet to participate in the qualifying relay]