Shooting stars line up for awards
Saurabh, Manu and Abhishek are in the race for the Arjuna awards this time, along with Elavenil Valarivan, Shahzar Rizvi, Om Prakash Mitharval and Chinki Yadav.
Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary swept all the four air pistol mixed gold medals in the World Cups in 2019.
Indian shooting had an unprecedented season in 2019, especially in rifle and pistol.
India topped the medals table in all the four World Cups in Delhi, Beijing, Munich and Rio. The shooters capped the super run by topping the World Cup Final in Putian, China. It was a good augury before the Olympics in Tokyo, which eventually got postponed by a year.
When the selection panel meets to decide on the government sports awards, the shooters’ fare will come to the fore.
The driving force of India’s grand show was the 18-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker. It may be recalled that the two had won the individual air pistol gold in the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in 2018.
The duo swept all the four gold medals in mixed air pistol in the World Cups in 2019. It was like Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza winning all the four Grand Slams, without the matching monetary rewards.
Saurabh, who had won the Asian Games gold in 2018, won two individual gold medals as well in the World Cups last year.
It was a sweep in air pistol by India as another Asian Games medallist, Abhishek Verma, had won the individual air pistol gold medal in two other World Cups last year.
Remarkably, Manu won the mixed air pistol gold in the Asian championship with Abhishek, and the World Cup Final gold with a Russian. Everything she touched turned gold in the mixed event. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist also won the women’s air pistol gold in the World Cup Final in 2019.
The three Saurabh, Manu and Abhishek are in the race for the Arjuna awards this time, along with Elavenil Valarivan, Shahzar Rizvi, Om Prakash Mitharval and Chinki Yadav.
The 21-year-old Elavenil won the women’s air rifle gold in the Rio World Cup and the World Cup Final in Putian. She ended the season as world No.1. After sterling performances in the Junior World Cups, it was indeed a coming of age for Elavenil.
Shahzar had won the gold in the World Cup in Guadalajara and the silver in Changwon, in 2018. He was also the Asian championship gold medallist earlier.
Om Prakash Mitharval had won the free pistol gold in the World Championship in 2018. He was also part of the golden mixed air pistol team that year in the Guadalajara World Cup.
The 22-year-old Chinki Yadav won one of the Olympic quota last year in the Asian Championship in women’s sports pistol with a strong qualification score of 588.