New Delhi, May 9
Anjum Moudgil was one of the first two Indian shooters (the other was Apurvi Chandela) to win a quota place for the Tokyo Olympics, way back in September 2018, in the women’s 10m air rifle discipline.
However, though she would be competing at Tokyo, it won’t be in the 10m discipline — she has been selected to represent India in the women’s 50m rifle 3 Positions and the 10m air rifle (mixed team) events.
This is so because a shooter wins a quota place for the country, not for self, and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) picked up Apurvi and Elavenil Valarivan for the 10m rifle category. The reason was simple — only two shooters can represent a country in one discipline, and Elavenil is the world No. 1 in the air rifle discipline. Anjum was put in the 50m 3P category and mixed team squad because she competes in that event as well.
Anjum, a calm and composed 27-year-old with a Masters degree in Sports Psychology, is taking everything in her stride.
‘Nothing is lost’
She says her job is to only “shoot and get better at it”. “Due to the policy and different reasons I was not selected. I am okay with it now and I respect the decision. I am ready to give my 100% in the events I am selected in. Nothing is lost, I still have two events to play and I’ll be preparing for it,” the Chandigarh girl said.
But her training methods had to be changed. “I cut down on the training time I’ll be giving to 10m now, focussing more on 3 positions. It does make a difference if I am playing in the main team or just the mixed event, I’ll be shooting much less shots in mixed team than I would in an air rifle match so it makes a difference in my training timetable,” Chandigarh girl Anjum said in an online media interaction organised by SAI. “The programme is made by my coach (Deepali Deshpande) and it did change after the selection, but the time is the only change we made.”
At the Delhi ISSF World Cup in March, Anjum, the world No. 3 in 10m air rifle, was the only Indian woman to qualify for the final, in which she finished fifth. In the 50m 3P discipline, Anjum finished 16th as no Indian reached the final.
Anjum said she is aware of the reasons behind her performance. “I knew how I was performing but I also knew the reasons and I was working on them for one and a half years. I was first finding the mistakes, working on them and fixing them,” she said. “After a break of one year where we didn’t shoot any competitions, the two trials helped me to understand where I stand and what all needs to be worked on at the World Cup. I was extremely happy with my World Cup performance in all three matches.”
She said a change in her customised shooting jacket, and the physical absence of her coach Deepali, led to her level dropping.
“After the 2019 nationals, I changed the brand of my jacket and that didn’t suit me. But because of the lockdown I was not able to train with my coach and we were not able to identify that the kit was the problem,” Anjum said. “I thought my scores were dipping because I was out of competition. Only after the camps late in 2020 that we were able to figure it out. Deepali ma’am saw that the problem was not physical or technical but with the equipment. There are some things that only the coach realises and that’s why it took me some time but I am glad that I could fix it last year itself.” — TNS