Manu Bhaker vs Yashaswini Singh Deswal: A rivalry that India can bank upon at Tokyo Olympics
Two Indian pistol shooters, who are currently at the world's top positions are going to be competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Tokyo Olympics 2021 is predicted to be record-breaking for the Indian shooting team. With fifteen top shooters, India is putting its best foot forward.
Indian pistol team has been the most successful and decorated team in the past. Tokyo-bound Indian pistol shooters Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Singh Deswal are entering Tokyo Olympics with a very realistic chance of winning.
Yashaswini stands at the current world number one while Manu is just behind on the second in the 10m air pistol event. It is astonishing to see two Indians at the world top.
The young shooters have been on the podium quite a few times in the past years. But, what is more, notable is the close competition between the two Indian shooters.
With their stellar performances, they have taken India to a position where in the world cups situations have not been whether India will win the medal, but rather which Indian will.
The internal competition at Tokyo Olympics 2021
While there will be international competition at Tokyo Olympics, the Indian shooting team's internal competition is also intense. But the one in the closest proximity is Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Manu Bhaker. However, even after being rivals at every competition, the duo is focused on their games unaffected by each other.
From scores to the journey there are a lot of similarities in the 10m pistol shooters. Yashaswini might be a senior to Manu but the rise in their careers came at the almost same time.
And, we cannot forget the glorious 2019 for India in shooting, where the two had a lot of contribution. Let's have a look back at their rivalry.
Starting from the 2018 ISSF World Cup Guadalajara, Yashaswini finished at the 4th position while Manu finished at the 5th position in qualification. In 2019 World Cup Final, when Bhaker won the gold medal, Deswal finished at 6th position.
The most interesting match in the Manu-Yashaswini rivalry was the 2021 ISSF World Cup, New Delhi. With just a 2.1 difference Deswal clinched the gold medal, whereas Bhaker won silver. The duo defeated, five-time Olympian Viktoria Chaika.
Shooting the most identical scores
Apart from the consistent medal-winning performances they have also been quite consistent in shooting almost the same scores.
2019 ISSF World Cup, Putain: Yashaswini-578, Manu-578
2021 ISSF World Cup, New Delhi: Yashaswini-579, Manu-577
2021 ISSF World Cup, Croatia- Yashaswini-578, Manu-577
2021 European Shooting Championship- Yashaswini-573, Manu-572
It won't be a surprise if the pistol shooters score so close again at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Clearing the qualification round to reach finals in shooting is the biggest hurdle. The Indian women have mostly made it to the cut for the finals. Considering this, there is an optimistic chance that we see two Indian women in the finals of the 10m air pistol event at the Tokyo Olympics. If there was a 10m air pistol women's team event, it would have been in India's court with these two young women performing.
Having two powerful players in one event increases India's chance of clinching the Olympic medal. But what will be more interesting is to watch two Indian women in the finals competing against each other at the Olympics.