Aware that mere securing an Olympic quota would not guarantee her a place in the 10m air rifle event at the Tokyo Games, CWG silver medallist shooter Anjum Moudgil is focussed on sharpening her skills and also taking her fitness to the next level.
Moudgil had won a silver medal while Apurvi Chandela finished fourth in the women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF World Championship in September last year to become the first set of Indian shooters to secure quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I never thought about quota, especially not in the air event. It was a good experience. I still remember each and every shot and I remember telling my coach ‘I feel very anxious’,” Anjum, whose pet event is 50m Rifle 3 Positions, told PTI .
“Many people said sustaining a quota in air event is very difficult and I know I was not at my top-most level in the World Championships in air event. That gives me so much to work on. I will work on retaining the quota so that no one has any doubts left.”
Although Moudgil has secured a quota, as per the stated policy, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will take the final call on selection, based on the aggregate scores of shooters (in international tournaments and selection trials) leading up to the Olympic Games.
After gruelling training and a crammed competition calendar, Moudgil is now ready to work on her fitness.
“With all the travelling last year I wasn’t able to concentrate on my fitness. This year we have planned in a way that I mostly stay in Chandigarh and work on the physical aspect.
“This year is mainly the physical part and working on the techniques. The aim is to work on myself and not focus on any specific competition,” Moudgil said.
Last year the 25-year-old bagged three silver medals. At the first ISSF World Cup of the year and the Commonwealth Games she finished second in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions while at the World Championships she won a silver in the 10m air rifle.
“Winning in the Mexico World Cup was very motivating for me because I never thought of myself on an international podium at that level then I knew that if I work hard I can be there.”
Talking about the change in format, wherein women will have 60 shots in Air Rifle qualification instead of 40 and 120 in 3-position instead of 60, Moudgil said she relishes the new challenge.
“Number of shots have increased and for me it’s really good. I love what’s more challenging physically and mentally. It’s really good that men and women have the same number of shots. Training with the same team members, for longer hours has worked well for me.”
Asked if she finds it difficult to balance two events -- 50m 3 Positions and 10m air -- Moudgil says competing in two categories is only good for her confidence.
“10m air helps me in 3 position standing. For me it’s much more motivating to play both. I have a better confidence if I shoot two events.”
Reminiscing the time she shot her way to a world record, the Chandigarh shooter says she loves records more than medals.
“I love making records because a lot of people are medallists but only a select few make records.”
Moudgil had shot a world record qualifying score of 1180 in the elimination relay at the ISSF World Cup in May last year.
“In the Munich World Cup I shot 1180, I was focusing so much on myself and the technique that I didn’t realise shooting 1180 would make me a joint world record holder. I always thought you had to beat the record.”
Apart from being an accomplished shooter, Moudgil enjoys painting and has also completed a master’s degree in sports psychology.
“Painting really helps me in shooting and sport psychology was really easy for me to understand. I use several of its aspects in my shooting like motivation, injury etc,” she said.