Feature | Shooting

Anjum Moudgil takes aim at Tokyo 2020 glory

Part of India’s talented shooting contingent headed to Tokyo later in 2020, the versatile Moudgil is one of the country’s biggest Olympic hopefuls.

By Sandeep Banerjee ·

The shooting contingent has shaped up to be one of India’s brightest and most formidable units marching into Tokyo 2020 later this year, and Anjum Moudgil is certainly at the sharp end of things.

Only the second Indian woman shooter to bag a World Championship medal (after Tejaswini Sawant), the versatile markswoman is known for her dexterity in both 10m Air Rifle and 50m Rifle 3-positions categories.

Anjum Moudgil holds up her women's 50m Rifle 3-positions silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

And while shooting is her forte, Moudgil is a skilled tennis player and an excellent painter as well, whose works are in demand from art connoisseurs.

Morning shows the day

Moudgil was born on January 5, 1994, in Chandigarh, India, and her knack for shooting was apparent from an early age.

In 2011, at the National Shooting Championship in Delhi, she made her Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School proud by clinching an incredible nine medals, including two gold, three silver and four bronze.

At the time, the 17-year-old Class XI student told Times of India, “It was very challenging, but to achieve something, struggle is required. I got second rank and am looking forward to participating in the Olympics too.”

Mind over matter for Moudgil

While her Tokyo 2020 berth attests to her having now achieved that wish, back then, alongside nurturing her promising shooting career, Moudgil focused on her education as well, which includes a successful completion of a Masters in Sports Psychology.

Moudgil claims the knowledge from that qualification has been helpful in her shooting. “What stands out for me is the importance of the relation between a coach and an athlete, and how to manage stress and injuries well,” she told Sportstar.

Sampling international glory

Moudgil’s first international success of note came when she clinched a double gold — in the 50m Rifle 3-positions individual and team events — in the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati.

The following year saw her make a successful first appearance at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships held in Brisbane, Australia, where she won the silver medal in 10m Air Rifle and bronze in 50m Rifle Prone.

Moudgil’s breakout year that heralded Olympic shot

In 2018, Moudgil further augmented her resume with more trophies at numerous prestigious international competitions.

In her first attempt at the Commonwealth Games (CWG), held in Australia's Gold Coast that year, Moudgil managed to secure the silver medal in 50m Air Rifle 3-positions after breaking the CWG qualifying record.

A month later, in September, at the ISSF World Shooting Championships in Changwon, South Korea, Moudgil picked up a silver medal in 10m Air Rifle. With it being a qualification event for the Olympics, she became the first Indian to make the cut for Tokyo 2020.

Teamed up with fellow Indian shooting stalwarts Apurvi Chandela and Mehuli Ghosh, Moudgil bagged silver in the 10m Air Rifle team event at Changwon as well.

Primed and ready to deliver?

In the pre-Olympic year 2019, she further honed her craft and picked up gold medals in the 10m Air Rifle category at the ISSF World Cup events at Munich and Beijing.

Come July, when Tokyo 2020 gets underway, many eyes will be on Moudgil as she guns for Olympic glory — from her Sacred Heart schoolmates to the legions of fans she picked up along the way. And given her cool demeanour under pressure, it’s hard to imagine that she will leave any of her onlookers disappointed.