16-year-old Anish Bhanwala, who won medals including gold at the recent ISSF Junior World Cup at Suhl in Germany, is presently one of India’s best pistol shooters. Thanks to his interest in sports and the physical training he loves doing, Anish is 5’9” in height and 70 kg in weight. What impressed me most when I met Anish was his soft-spoken nature and respect for elders. VIJAYAN BALA spoke to Anish on how he took to shooting, his achievements so far and his goals for the future.
How did you take to shooting?
When I was about 10 years of age I used to participate in the modern pentathlon events. I represented India at the U-12 Modern Pentathlon World Championships in 2013 and the Asian Modern Pentathlon Championships in 2015. Shooting was my favourite sport in the modern pentathlon events and so I decided to concentrate on it.
Apart from your national coach Jaspal Rana, the ace shooter, who else has helped you in your career to date?
My father has done his best to ensure that I can concentrate on my shooting. When I was living in Karnal, my father borrowed a pistol so that I could practise at the range in SBS Senior Secondary School. My personal coach, Harpreet Singh, has helped me a lot over the past four years.
What has been your major achievement, so far?
My biggest achievement to date has been winning the gold medal in the 2018 Gold Coast Asian Games in the 25m rapid fire pistol event. I shot 580 and in the process set a new Games record. I also became the youngest Indian to win gold at the Commonwealth Games at the age of 15. Earlier this year in the World Cup for seniors at New Delhi I shot 588 and qualified for the finals. The 588 was a national record. My main events are the 25m rapid fire pistol, 25m pistol and 25m standard pistol — individual, team and mix events.
Finally, what are your future plans?
I have joined class 12 in ManavRachna International School which is quite close to the DrKarni Singh Shooting Range in Delhi. The school not only permits me to participate in shooting but also helps me in my academics. It also has a centre that helps me in building my strength, etc. Again, I keep learning in every competition I take part in. This is making me a better player. I have two more tournaments where I can win an Olympic quota for India. My aim is to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and do India proud.
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