In a world that encourages one to dream big, it is hard to stay focused and be in the moment. But, if you do, you may progress way beyond your dreams, in a way Apurvi Chandela has done.
Talking on Instagram to shotgun marksman Manavaditya Rathore, a champion in the making and son of Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the 27-year-old Apurvi, gave an insight into the mindset of a champion, who has scaled great heights in a short time.
"I saw Michael Phelps at the dining hall in the Rio Olympics. I also met some famous tennis players. It was special being out there with them. I never thought that I would reach that far, when I started," said Apurvi.
An injury in the run up to the Olympics had upset her plans, and Apurvi was shattered not to be at her best on the biggest stage for sports. An introvert, and now "heart broken", she further went into a cocoon, thinking about "what went wrong", before her mom spoke to her and pulled her out of the turmoil.
"Failures are important for development. I was upset that it happened in the Olympics," said Apurvi.
Manavaditya nicely weaved a question as to how she rose from finishing 34th in the Olympics to be No.1 in the world, when she won two World Cup gold medals in air rifle in 2019.
"I realised that I can’t give up. It took a lot of hard work to get there. It was amazing to be World No.1, especially after the disappointment. It was important to go through the downs. You learn so much more. It changed me as a person. Unfortunately, that lesson came in the Olympics," said Apurvi.
She stayed calm when suggested that she could be winning a medal in the Tokyo Games. She picked a gold medal at home in the Delhi World Cup with a world record in the final and another one in Munich.
Apurvi’s first love are her dogs Shera and Gabbar. Shooting, which she chose in the eleventh standard, comes second. She has also been learning photography and loves travelling.
It has been a fascinating journey for her after she took up air rifle, reading an interview by Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra.
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"It was special when I won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Abhinav Bindra also won a gold medal there. I had tried pistol and chose rifle, as it did not require any dynamic movement. When I read the interview that rifle shooting required one to stand still and be stable, I thought this was for me," revealed Apurvi,
even as she pointed out the rich lineage of national and international basketball players on her mother’s side.
"When I said that I wanted to shoot, my parents were overjoyed. I just enjoyed the sport, and kept getting selected for the next level. Within a year, my family made an electronic range for me at home, and my mom used to encourage me by buying gifts if I shot a particular score or better," recalled Apurvi.
"I am very organised. I don’t forget anything," continued Apurvi, as she struggled to find an embarrassing moment in her career.
Grateful to ONGC for her job, and Olympic Gold Quest for exceptional support apart from the TOPS, Apurvi said that sports was a lively career.
"This is the time to be in sport," she said.
Saying that she had always been disciplined and never indulged in any party time during her college days, Apurvi said that she loved music and watched Netflix .
"I do yoga for flexibility, and swimming relaxes all the muscles," said Apurvi.
Understandably close to World Championship silver medallist Anjum Moudgil, with whom she has shared room during competitions, Apurvi said that she watches a lot of cricket on TV.
Her mantra is simple. "Nothing comes easy. Failures are as important as success’’, in moulding a career.
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