In­dia’s young shoot­ers in big league

The Hindu - - SPORT - Shayan Acharya

Once a niche pur­suit, shoot­ing in In­dia has evolved into a prom­i­nent sport. An­jali Bhag­wat has seen the trans­for­ma­tion.

As Me­huli Ghosh, Manu Bhakar and Sau­rabh Chaud­hary — In­dia’s young aspi­rants — pre­pare to bring more lau­rels to the coun­try, the fu­ture of the sport looks bright, be­lieves An­jali.

“The young­sters have been suc­cess­ful in all the ma­jor events and that’s a won­der­ful thing. The likes of Sau­rabh and Me­huli have plenty of time and a bright fu­ture ahead,” said An­jali, one of the jury mem­bers of the Sport­star Aces Awards.

An­jali, a gold medal­list at the Com­mon­wealth Games in 2002, is im­pressed by the way young shoot­ers have en­tered the big league. “In the se­nior team now, nearly 60 per cent shoot­ers are from the youth cat­e­gory. This shows how much we have im­proved over the years and where we ex­actly stand to­day,” An­jali said.

Pat for Me­huli

She is also ex­cited to see Me­huli take the world by storm. Last week, at the In­terShoot in­ter­na­tional shoot­ing cham­pi­onship at The Hague, the Kolkata girl dis­played class and courage, fight­ing back from the brink of elim­i­na­tion dur­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion to strike her sec­ond suc­ces­sive gold in women’s air ri­fle.

“Her scores have been un­be­liev­able. They are in the elite league al­ready,” An­jali said.

Last year, the In­dian ath­letes en­joyed tremen­dous suc­cess, mak­ing it tough for the jury to pick the win­ner.

“There was so much com­pe­ti­tion and it was dif­fi­cult to choose the best one. This re­flects the kind of year the ath­letes had,” An­jali said.

“Not just shoot­ing, even ta­ble ten­nis got a facelift and so many peo­ple are now tak­ing up the sport. It is the same with boxing, wrestling and bad­minton. That’s a pos­i­tive for In­dian sports,” she said.

FILE PHOTO ■

An­jali Bhag­wat.

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