CHANDIGARH: What happens when your equipment goes missing days before a world championship? Nothing good, as shooter Anjum Moudgil found out the hard way – the airlines misplaced her baggage and she lost precious training time, and perhaps a medal, at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup rifle-pistol event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“The airlines lost my baggage when I landed in Rio. I did not get my equipment for three days. I was not able to practice properly and I think it cost me the medal,” Anjum told TOI on Saturday. Anjum’s high point in the tournament came when she paired with Divyansh Singh Panwar in the 10m air mixed air rifle event to win gold.
“It was just plain bad luck I guess. I will have to be ready next time because these kind of things can happen during the Olympics also,” she said.
Interestingly, the top three shooters in the 10m air rifle women’s category are all from India – Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan. Anjum and Apurvi have already secured their Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota in the women’s 10m air rifle event.
“Yes, the competition is getting tougher. But it is a good thing as it pushes you to do well. I think we all have become more fearless in the range,” said the 25-year-old Anjum, adding: “We are a tight group. We enjoy each other’s success. We just focus on our own performance.”
The exclusion of shooting from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has proven to be controversial, with India threatening to boycott the event if the sport is not reinstated. Former shooter Abhinav Bindra, the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics, has also voiced his opposition.
“Obviously, we all are disappointed but other sports shouldn’t get affected because of it. They all work extremely hard for such an event. Shooting federation and sports minister Kiren Rijiju has written to the CWG committee regarding the issue. Hopefully, the entire India contingent, including shooters, will be in Birmingham in 2022,” said Anjum.
Anjum is one of the record 14 Indian rifle and pistol shooters who have earned the right to compete in the year-end World Cup Finals to be held in Putian, China, between November 17 and 23. Anjum has made the cut in both the women’s 10m air rifle and women’s 50m rifle 3 position. Before that, Anjum will be participating in the Asian Championship in Doha, Qatar, from November 3 to 13.
India have already secured nine quota places for Tokyo, with some more places up for grabs in the Asian Championship. “I think this is the best time for Indian shooting. The credit must go the federation for their grassroots structure,” said Anjum.