Shooter Elavenil excels on world stage

Elavenil won the air rifle women’s silver medal and the team bronze with Aayushi Gupta and Nina Chandel, in the ongoing 30th Universiade in Napoli, Italy.

Elavenil Valarivan with the women's air rifle silver medal and team bronze in the 30th Universiade in Napoli, Italy.   -  Special Arrangement

Elavenil in Tamil means Spring season. In Indian shooting, the young Elavenil Valarivan springs to life in international competitions with bright medals, hinting a bright career.

The 20-year-old Elavenil won the air rifle women’s silver medal and the team bronze with Aayushi Gupta and Nina Chandel, in the ongoing 30th Universiade in Napoli, Italy.

It was no surprise, as Elavenil had already won three gold medals in Junior World Cups apart from the women’s gold in the Asian Air Gun Championship. She had also won the junior silver in the World Championship.

“I missed the gold with silly mistakes. I am never satisfied with silver’’, she said, talking to Sportstar from Italy, after missing the qualification for mixed air rifle, despite shooting the best among all the shooters.

“It was kind of chill and friendly atmosphere. I had known many of them from the previous match. So, it was really a good experience competing with the students around the world. I really feel great because I think I am the youngest in the Indian shooting team,” said Elavenil.

Hailing from Tamil Nadu, she is currently pursuing BA English Literature in Ahmedabad at the Bhavans Arts College, under the Gujarat University.

“I was in athletics before shooting. I have played almost every game except cricket, football and volleyball. I was in my school teams for basketball, handball, kabaddi and shot put. My main focus was sprints. I have played State and was selected for nationals, but didn’t continue.” — Elavenil Valarivan, Indian shooter

“My Principal (Neerja Gupta) is very supportive and even arranges extra lectures and notes for me whenever I am in Ahmedabad,” Elavenil said.

A trainee of the ambitious Project Leap of Olympic and World Championship medallist, Gagan Narang, Elavenil is happy to train at the new branch of Gun For Glory, in Chennai.

READ| Elavenil Valarivan, Mehuli Ghosh to headline strong team for junior shooting World Cup

“I am recovering from a knee injury. I am undergoing rehabilitation in Chennai at the Centre of Sports Science in Sri Ramachandra Medical College. It suits me to train in Chennai, even though my family is in Gujarat. I like the facilities in Chennai,” she said.

Having been coached by Neha Chavan and trained by mind trainer Kritika Pandey from the early days, right from the time she picked up a rifle, Elavenil is happy to continue with the duo in the new project.

She was a versatile athlete, and got introduced to shooting by a friend, who was happy to let her use a spare gun. “I was in athletics before shooting. I have played almost every game except cricket, football and volleyball. I was in my school teams for basketball, handball, kabaddi and shot put. My main focus was sprints.

“I have played State and was selected for nationals, but didn’t continue,” she recalled.

Thanks to her ability to shoot absolutely world class scores that can fetch a medal on any stage in the international arena, Elavenil has opted to stick to shooting.

“I am looking forward to doing well in the Junior World Cup in Suhl and then the Masters event in Delhi,” she said.

A member of the national women’s team behind Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil both of whom have won Olympic quota for Tokyo 2020, Elavenil is happy to keep getting better.

She could not capitalise on the chance in the last Asian Games, but Elavenil will give herself many more chances to excel on the global stage.