Ace Indian 10m Air Rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela holds two gold medals very close to her heart.
It’s not only because they celebrate her achievements in the sport but also highlight her resilience and her ability to bounce back .
“There are two of them [World Cups] which are more special than the other. One would be at the Delhi World Cup last year,” Apurvi Chandela told the Olympic Channel.
It was in February that year that Apurvi Chandela had shot a record score of 252.9 in the final of the women's 10m Air Rifle event at Dr Karni Singh shooting range in New Delhi.
“The home crowd was rooting for me and it was an amazing feeling to win in front of them and the fact that I set a finals world record while doing so,” she pointed out.
Moreover, it had somewhat made up for her slip during the Munich World Cup in the preceding year where she fell from a healthy lead that had set her on course for a gold medal to out of podium contention. But she didn't let that disappointment linger when she had lifted her rifle in New Delhi a year later.
With that feat, Apurvi Chandela had also become only the second Indian shooter after Anjali Bhagwat to win a gold medal in the women's 10m Air Rifle event at a World Cup, and would soon rise to emerge as world no. 1 in the women's 10m Air Rifle event.
Apurvi Chandela's rise to the top
Chandela didn’t stop there. Along with the ISSF New Delhi World Cup gold medal, Apurvi Chandela also holds the 2019 ISSF Munich World Cup dear, where she returned to bury the ghosts of the preceding year for good.
After reaching the final round of the World Cup quite comprehensively, Apurvi Chandela had shot 251 points to edge out China's Luyao Wang, who scored 250.8.
“In 2018, I was in the final of the Munich World Cup and came fourth because of a freak shot. After that, to go and get that medal in the following year in 2019, was a very special feeling for me,” Apurvi Chandela said.
Shooting in self-isolation
Now, she faces another obstacle.
With the International Olympic Committee postponing the Tokyo Olympics and India further imposing a 21-day lockdown in the wake of coronavirus sweeping across the globe, athletes have found limited scope for exercise and training.
However, that hasn’t been a bother for the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and the Asian Games bronze medallist.
“I have a shooting range at home, so my training has not been affected. So, I train for about three hours in the morning and then I spend the afternoon reading. I do my exercise and fitness in the evenings,” said Apurvi Chandela.
Apurvi Chandela was among the first set of Indian shooters to book an Olympic quota alongside compatriot Anjum Moudgil, back in April 2019.
While Apurvi Chandela had finished fourth at the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, South Korea by aggregating 207, Anjum Moudgil had shot a total of 248.4 in the eight-women final.
After a good 2019, 2020 has been a dampener for most athletes, especially the shooters, most of whose events have been cancelled.
Apurvi Chandela currently sits fifth in the ISSF world rankings of the women’s 10m Air Rifle event.
But like she did during her run last year in New Delhi and Munich, she is likely to up her game once the Tokyo Olympics comes around.