Quality shooting pushes us to give our best all the time

Quality shooting pushes us to give our best all the time
Elavenil Valarivan

The Indian rifle and pistol shooters topped the medals tally at all four ISSF World Cup stages this year in a phenomenal performance, picking up a total of 22 medals with as many as 16 gold.

New Delhi (PTI): Her transition from the junior to senior circuit might seem effortless given the continuing gold rush but fast-rising shooting ace Elavenil Valarivan says taking aim in the elite league is a very different ball game.

The 20-year-old claimed her maiden gold in the senior circuit in the recent ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, becoming one of the many youngsters in recent years to have grabbed attention with her skills and results. Having made the transition after winning all that was on offer in the junior category, Elavenil joined the senior team this year.

The Ahmedabad-based shooter is a multiple-time gold-medallist at the junior level. "I have been with the senior team this whole year and the competition is very high. Competition wise there are a lot of changes. The training is different. It is very competitive," she told PTI.

"...and we have a really good group of shooters. Quality shooting helps all of us. The environment really pushes us to give our best all the time," Elavenil said.

Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang has had a huge role in her development and was the first to call the young rifle shooter after her gold in the Rio de Janeiro World Cup recently.

"He was, in fact, the first one to call me after my win. It was a very special day for the academy. I am so lucky that I now get to directly train with him. You can learn so much from him. It is very special," she recalled.

"He was super happy. Because we trained really tough. He said he had something to say about that last shot but that will be for later. I don't think he is happy with that," Elavenil said of her mentor.

In her debut year at the senior level, Elavenil shot 251.7 in the finals to help India extend their new-found dominance in the women's 10m air rifle event, leaving behind her fancied team-mates Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil.

Owing to the time difference of eight and half hours between India and Rio de Janeiro, she said her parents were awake all night to track her progress. "They were up all night checking my results. They always are. It has always been like that whenever I am shooting a match. My parents, brother (who is in the Indian Army), coaches all of them," she said.

The results in Rio de Janeiro ensured an unprecedented top finish for India across all four ISSF World Cup Stages this year, including the lone junior World Cup.

India's final tally in Rio de Janeiro stood at five gold, two silver and two bronze medals for a total of nine.

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