India’s young rifle ace Elavenil Valarivan has said her partner's performance doesn't affect her individual show in team shooting events, after claiming her maiden mixed 10m air rifle gold alongside Divyansh Singh Panwar at the ISSF World Cup here on Monday.
The 21-year-old Elavenil and 18-year-old Divyansh gave India its fourth gold of the marquee tournament. For Divyansh, it was his fourth mixed gold at the senior World Cups. Mixed shooting events are set to make their Olympic debut at the upcoming Tokyo Games, scheduled to be held in July-August.
“I don't think it has any impact,” Elavenil said when asked if the thought of her partner’s performance impacts her.
“Because, at the end of the day, although it's the cumulative score, but I feel that at that moment you are not thinking about what the other person is shooting. For a particular shot you are focussing on yourself. Maybe after the shot, though, you might go into that and say 'oh he has shot that and I have shot this', but I don't think, at that particular moment, it is making any difference," she said.
While Elavenil is least concerned with others' shooting, it not quite the same for her partner, Divyansh.
"I also watch what others are doing while playing in the finals, I focus on others, too, while playing the finals I also see whether those standing next to me are shooting late or early. Maybe this can help me in future, you can say that this is part of my strategy, to see how the other shooter is pulling the trigger. I believe I can learn something from everyone," he explained.
Divyansh, who won the individual bronze in the men's 10m air rifle on Saturday, was asked if the restrictions owing to the COVID-19 pandemic have affected the athletes to a great extent. "They don't affect us as such. But yes, the environment changes suddenly, from roaming freely to going anywhere you wish to, you suddenly you find yourself inside a bio-bubble...
"But it doesn't make any difference in the match," Divyansh said.
‘Another step towards the goal’
Asked about the significance of Monday's medal, Elavenil said, "It is part of the preparation plan I was working on, it's just another step towards the goal. I have no pressure, having a good mentor behind you is always an added advantage."
By mentor, the 2019 World Cup Finals gold-medallist was referring to Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang, who is commentating in the tournament. The India duo shot a combined total of 16 in the gold medal match to finish ahead of Hungarian world number one Istvan Peni and Eszter Denes who managed 10.