Focussing on consistency and momentum, says Apurvi Chandela

Winning two gold medals in the World Cups this season at home in Delhi and in Munich, Apurvi has been able to assert her class with intimidating scores that include a world record 252.9 in the final.

Taste of gold: Apurvi Chandela who has won gold medals in New Delhi and Munich World Cups, looks to set the record straight in Rio.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Indian shooting ace Apurvi Chandela attained the world number 1 position in the women’s 10m air rifle event while compatriot Anjum Moudgil rose to number two after consistent performances in recent years.

Winning two gold medals in the World Cups this season at home in Delhi and in Munich, Apurvi has been able to assert her class with intimidating scores that include a world record 252.9 in the final.

Sustain momentum

Ahead of leaving for the last World Cup of the season in Rio de Janeiro, the 26-year-old Apurvi said she wants to sustain the good work and stay on top of her game.

"I just want to perform consistently at this point and keep the momentum going", Apurvi said.

With seven Olympic quota places in the bag, the Indian rifle and pistol team will assemble early in Rio to have a fortnight of constructive preparatory camp to give itself the best chance to win maximum possible Olympic quota.

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With the decimal scoring demanding a high degree of accuracy, Apurvi shoots nearly an average of 10.5 over 60 shots. She has scores of 633.0, 629.3, 630.9, 630.9, 626.8 and 627.0 in the six World Cups since last year, which follow the new format of 60 shots for women.

She won a bronze in the Commonwealth Games last year in the 40-shot format, after having won the gold in 2014. She was fourth in the Asian Air Gun this year. And, Apurvi is still looking for an Asian Games medal after finishing fifth last year in Palembang and 13th in Incheon in 2014.

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No excuses

Apurvi will be returning to Rio after the Olympics in 2016 when she had shot 411.6 for the 34th spot. She had won the silver among the elite in the World Cup Final in 2015 which had triggered hopes of a good performance in the Olympics.

In restructuring her shooting post-Olympics, Apurvi had rejoined her long-time coach Rakesh Manpat in 2017 and has continued with him.

"I have trained with him for about six years in all. He understands my way of working. He knows what works for me and what doesn’t. He has great, in-depth knowledge of the sport technically and mentally. So, he can add great value to my shooting’’, said Apurvi.

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Rakesh trains the shooters at two of his centres in Bengaluru, with possibly the best of facilities and equipment that he can put together.

"There is no room for excuses while working with him. He makes sure that I am on track’’, said Apurvi, quite happy to have the best guidance.

There are only five other Indian shooters, apart from Apurvi and Anjum, who figure in the top-10 list of the world. They all have won Olympic quota places.

Pistol prodigy Saurabh Chaudhary is second in men's’ air pistol, two slots above Abhishek Verma. Rahi Sarnobat who won the gold and the Olympic quota in women’s sports pistol is sixth. Divyansh Singh Panwar who won the men’s air rifle quota is seventh.

Interestingly, Manu Bhaker is ninth, both in women’s air pistol and sports pistol.

"I am looking forward to having good training and competition in Rio. We are leaving on Friday, and will have enough time to settle down’’, said Apurvi, who had taken up shooting after watching Abhinav Bindra win the Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008.