National shooting trials: Abhinav Chauhan helps Mansi Anand shine

Mansi, a student of Meerut College, lost the title round to Rhythm Sangwan in youth air pistol in the last selection trial.

Under the guidance of coach Abhinav Chauhan (Right) Mansi Anand has improved from 552 in air pistol last year to 571 this year.

Under the guidance of coach Abhinav Chauhan (Right) Mansi Anand has improved from 552 in air pistol last year to 571 this year. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Mansi, a student of Meerut College, lost the title round to Rhythm Sangwan in youth air pistol in the last selection trial.

The Indian shooting system is so robust that it can fast-track the progress of a young shooter in record time. A series of national selection trials that has a mix of the best and beginners, a few hundred of them in some events, provide a level playing field for everyone to make an impact.

Mansi Anand who lost the title round to Rhythm Sangwan in youth air pistol in the last selection trial is a classic example.

The 18-year-old Mansi, a student of Meerut College, is ably guided by coach Abhinav Chauhan at the Meerut Shooting Academy. Her overall experience in shooting is less than a year. From shooting 552 in air pistol, in the last national championship to 571 in the Kumar Surendra Singh Championship, the girl has progressed in a brilliant fashion, without even having her own pistol.

In the six selection trials through the season, her scores ranged from 558 to 568.

“In the sixth trial she shot 568. Her last shot was an 8. She started thinking about reaching 570, and the eight happened. With experience, she can aspire to make the national squad soon. She takes tuitions for young children to help her family. I try to support her as much as possible”, said Abhinav, who runs the Meerut Academy, without aiming for financial gain.

Abhinav himself is quite young and has shot in the last six national championships. He does training as much as he can, but he is focused on helping others.

“Shooting is a game, 90% mental and 10% physical. A shooter needs good understanding and technical efficiency. For mental training, we teach yoga and meditation, which help the body and mind stay calm, even in times of extreme pressure’’, said Abhinav.

The coach had inaugurated his academy just over a year back, and is confident that many trainees would make the national squad soon.

“My aim is to make shooting affordable for ordinary people. Most are doing business in shooting. I had to pay 30% extra when I imported my first weapon. Now, I help other shooters buy their weapon at the right price. We have a few weapons at our academy, and thus anyone can learn without having their personal weapon. Our academy is open round the clock, seven days a week. We arrange accommodation for some shooters also. We give concession for female shooters to encourage them take up the sport and excel’’, said Abhinav.

The young coach ensures that the shooters stay away from their mobile phones and social media, and helps them “be engaged in other good life activities”.

He organises weekly rewarding matches featuring shooters of other academies to help everyone grow.

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