Shahzar Rizvi ready to strike Olympic quota

Happy to be back in the national team in air pistol, the 24-year-old Shahzar is keen to clinch the second Olympic quota for the country in the event.

Mahima Turhi Agrawal and Shahzar Rizvi compete in the mixed air pistol event during the World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, last year. Shahzar won the men's gold with record then.   -  ISSF

Languishing out of the national team for big events like the Commonwealth and Asian Games, apart from the first World Cup of the season at home this year have been a hard experience, but Shahzar Rizvi is grateful for the lessons.

Happy to be back in the national team in air pistol, the 24-year-old Shahzar is keen to clinch the second Olympic quota for the country in the event.

“I missed Commonwealth Games because I was competing in one event and the national federation opted for Jitu Rai as he competes in more events. It hurt me at that time, but I knew it was the right decision. A string of low scores meant I missed the Asian Games. I was happy to compete in my second World Championship in Korea, but a score of 576 did not help,” recalled Shahzar.

“I knew I had a lot of hard work to do, and had little time. I slipped in the rankings. I wanted to show myself that I could bounce back. Now that I am back in the team, I want to win the Olympic quota,” said Shahzar, quite convinced that everything that happened in the season last year, the World Cup gold and silver medals, the World record, apart from the lows, were meant to strengthen his pursuit of excellence.

Coach Zakir Khan (left) with Shahzar Rizvi.   -  Special Arrangement


Exemplary performance

The key to the return was the exemplary performance in the Netherlands when Shahzar gave himself two international competitions to speed up his case.

“I had shot 580 in Intershoot in one match in February. The next day, I was having fever and cough. I missed the bus to the range in the morning. I Decided to walk about 3km to the range, and reached in time for the competition. I thought that it may not be a great score for me. But I told myself that if I can handle such a difficult situation well, I would be better prepared. I shot 588. It was my best match ever,” said Shahzar.

Back home, he had a string of fine scores in the selection trials that fetched him a berth in the national squad.

Shahzar said he owes a lot to coach Pavel Smirnov for the sound guidance since 2011. He has also been working with Ronak Pandit and Zakir Khan, who have helped him realise his strength and reach his potential.

Shahzar joined the Indian Air Force in 2014, when he actually accompanied his cousin Amir Rizvi, who was applying for a job.

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