Anjum Moudgil - Triggering a happy feat

By winning a silver medal in the the 10m air rifle event in South Korea — and securing an Olympic quota thereby — Anjum Moudgil became the first Indian woman shooter to win a world Championships medal in an Olympic event. But there’s more to the shooter: she’s also a painter and holds a Master’s degree in sports psychology. Here, she opens up about her life.

Anjum Moudgil owns the world record score of 1,180 out of 1,200 in the 50m rifle 3 positions event.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Shooter Anjum Moudgil has bounced back from the disappointment of failing to win a medal at the 2018 Asian Games to become the first Indian woman shooter to earn a World Championships medal in an Olympic event — the 10m air rifle.

Anjum, 24, bagged the silver medal in the event at Changwon in South Korea in September and won an Olympic quota, which she is confident of retaining.

She is only the second Indian woman shooter to win a World Championship medal, after Tejaswini Sawant's gold in rifle prone event in 2010.

A versatile shooter, she had won the World Cup silver medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions at Guadalajara, Mexico, earlier this season. She also owns the world record score of 1,180 out of 1,200 in this event.

Anjum accepts she was disappointed after failing to win a medal in the Asian Games, after winning silver in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and reveals how she channelled her focus.

Like Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Anjum also paints. She is so good at it that people buy her paintings. There's more — a Master's degree in sports psychology and a passion for playing tennis. The shooter gives a rare insight into her world in an interview.

Sharpshooter: Anjum is only the second Indian woman shooter to win a World Championship medal, after Tejaswini Sawant’s gold in rifle prone event in 2010.   -  Special arrangement

  You are only the second Indian woman to win a World Championships medal, and the first to do so in an Olympic event. How happy are you with your achievement?

It feels really amazing to win a World Championship medal. More than winning medals, I love setting records. I am really happy that I made history on being the first Indian woman to win a medal for India in an Olympic event in the World Championship. I had mixed feelings after not shooting up to the mark in the Asian Games.

I was prepared and ready to give my best and knew that there was only a little mistake somewhere which had to be worked on. Thus, with all that anger and hunger to shoot the best I could, I prepared and trained for air rifle and .22 (small bore). I was really prepared to shoot to the best of my abilities. I think all the confidence that I had due to my preparation, and trust that coach Deepali (Deshpande) ma’am and Oleg (Mikhaylov, the national coach) had in me were the main reasons that I could perform well.

Did you expect to win the Olympic quota in air rifle. Is it a problem (she is seen as a specialist in the 50m rifle 3 positions event)?

I really did not think much about winning a quota. I had expected to win a medal in the Asian Games and when I was not able to reach the finals (of the 50m rifle 3 positions event), I felt terrible. So, when I was preparing for Worlds after the Asian Games, my focus was on not missing out on anything, be it air rifle or .22, and on the process of shooting well rather than the scores. I follow a beautiful line that says, “Fall in love with the process and the results will come.” I do air rifle with the same passion as .22 to learn and enjoy shooting. Therefore, I was not shocked to win a medal and quota in air rifle. I don't think it is a problem for me because I have a lot of time to prepare and be much better in both the events.

How confident are you of retaining the Olympic quota, considering the good shooters we have in the event?

I am very confident of retaining my Olympic quota. Yes, there are many good shooters in the event, but, at the same time, I have so much to learn and improve.

There is a lot of scope for me to improve. Rest, I will leave it on time and focus on my preparations.

Do you think we are capable of winning rifle 3 positions Olympic quota places, as you are not eligible to win any more quota?

I think there is a lot of experienced and young talent to look up to. Yes, Indian shooters are really capable of shooting well at the world level and I hope we win the 3 positions quota.

How happy are you with your shooting overall, in air rifle and 3 positions?

I love shooting in more than one event, which makes me really confident in both the events. I keep learning from co-shooters and really enjoy the different techniques and experiences I get from air rifle and .22. Right now, I am focusing on air rifle training.

What are your plans for training and competition to stay sharp and world class?

I will leave it on Deepali ma’am and Oleg to decide my training and preparation for competitions.

I will work more on being physically fit, and on my weaknesses.

What do you do apart from shooting?

When I am at home in Chandigarh, I do not train for shooting. I love playing tennis. I spend time with my family, doing all the home chores, and I paint. I paint sort of professionally now and love doing it. I have an Instagram account for my artwork and people buy my paintings. Painting helps me meditate and be calm, which helps me in shooting.

Bouncing back: Anjum Moudgil competes in the Women's 50m rifle 3 positions (3x40) event during the 18th Asian Games 2018 at Palembang in Indonesia. Anjum accepts she was disappointed after failing to win a medal in the Asian Games, after winning silver in the Commonwealth Games.   -  PTI


Tell us about your sports psychology qualification. How does it help? What do you tell yourself as a sports psychologist?

I completed my sports psychology Master's degree last year. It was easy to understand and apply those lessons in my shooting. I missed many lectures, but of everything I learnt, what stands out for me is the importance of the relation between a coach and an athlete, and how to manage stress and injuries well.

Are there friends or others who gain from your knowledge of sports psychology?

Yes, there are many young shooters and beginners who ask about the psychological part of sport.

I love sharing my experience with them and learning on how to keep the sport as simple as possible. It is the best lesson one can learn and follow.

What career are you visualising for yourself, apart from shooting?

Something in the field of creative designing, art.

Tell us about the coaches and others supporting you.

I really appreciate the hard work and time Deepali ma'am puts in to nurture us in each and every possible way.

The best part about having Deepali ma'am as my personal coach and Oleg as the national coach is that they get along really well in planning for me.

Their understanding and respect for each other's ideas and suggestions have helped enhance my game so far.

GoSports has been with me since 2014 and I think their support has really helped me financially, getting nutritionists, trainers etc. I will surely keep making them proud.