Indian shooter Anjum Moudgil is certainly not short of company during the coronavirus confinement.
The 26-year-old says that she was lucky that she could get back to her home in Chandigarh just days before a nationwide lockdown was announced in India in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Though the Moudgil household too is facing its trouble dealing with the lockdown, Anjum says that things are a bit easy since they live in a joint family.
“You know one day, I was just sitting around and realising that I am blessed to be with so many people around me,” she tells the Olympic Channel over a phone call.
“I think that’s the benefit of living in a joint family. You always have people around. And the guys belong to different age groups, so it’s fun to be around as well. I was just talking to my mom about this.
“Think about the guys who have been holed up in their houses through this lockdown. Some are alone while some have 2-3 people around. I am blessed to have them.”
While the company of about 10 people - scattered across age categories - keeps her occupied, Anjum Mougil is keen to make the most of the downtime by indulging in activities she either didn’t get enough time to pursue or was shy to try a hand at it.
“Nowadays, I have been painting a lot. I usually don’t get enough time to do that,” she says.
“Then I am trying to pick up some dance steps from my sister as well. That’s something that always interested me, but I was too shy. But now that I am home, I don’t have to worry much.”
Anjum Moudgil’s long wait
Anjum Moudgil, along with compatriot Apurvi Chandela, was the first from the country to win a quota place for the Tokyo Olympics.
The duo sealed the maximum quotas available for India in the event at the 2018 World Championships. While Anjum Moudgil was a surprise silver medallist at the Worlds in Changwon, South Korea, the seasoned Air Rifle shooter, Apurvi Chandela, too ensured that she sealed a quota place with her fourth-place finish in the 10m Air Rifle final.
However, with the quota belonging to the country (NRAI in this case), Anjum Moudgil is still uncertain about her chances of making the team for the Olympics. But the Chandigarh shooter isn’t the one to worry about it.
“We should never take it for granted that we will make the team for the Olympics. There is a certain amount of uncertainty. But then there’s confidence as well. Confidence that I have been doing well so far and I can continue to do this,” she says.
“For me, it’s about concentrating and working on things that are under my control. If I start worrying about making the team, I might just slip up and my game would suffer.”
The move from 3-position to Air Rifle
Ever since she made her senior debut a few years ago, Anjum Moudgil has been a frontrunner in 3-position shooting. Her hold on the discipline is so much that she believes that she ‘owns’ the event.
This is probably a reason why when Anjum Moudgil won the Olympic quota-place in the 10m Air Rifle, the emotion in the Indian camp was more that of a surprise than joy. “It’s funny that when I won a quota place in Air Rifle, no one expected it,” she says.
“Everyone was counting on me to win the quota in 3-position. But the events (at the World Championships) were scheduled in such a way that the Air Rifle final was before the 3P, and I ended up winning a quota in it.”
But ever since her win at the World Championships, the Indian shooter has consciously streamlined her energy towards perfecting her skills in the Air Rifle.
“I think it’s after the quota that I started taking Air Rifle seriously. Before that, I used to practice Air Rifle because I would enjoy it. But after the quota, I started concentrating on the Air Rifle game,” she says.
“I started getting down to the minute details so that I could improve. That’s when I started seeing a change in my shooting as well.”
Helping Anjum Moudgil in her journey is the former Asian Games silver medallist and Olympian Deepali Despande.
Even amidst the lockdown, her coach has worked out a routine that Anjum Moudgil is expected to follow.
I won’t say the two are drastically different. One that is different is the mental aspect of the game,” says Anjum Moudgil pointing out the finer differences in the two events.
“A 3P shooter prepares differently mentally when compared to an Air Rifle shooter and that’s something that my coach has been working on with me. There’s nothing very technically as such.”
With her family helping her keep her mind off the pandemic, Anjum Moudgil is preparing in her way to deal with what awaits her in the post-COVID-19 world.