Sportstar Aces Awards: Bright future for Indian shooting, says Anjali Bhagwat

Anjali Bhagwat, one of the jury members for the Sportstar Aces Awards, is impressed by the way young shooters have entered the big league.

Indian shooting has improved considerably in recent years, notes Anjali Bhagwat. File Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Once a niche pursuit, shooting in India has evolved into a prominent sport. Anjali Bhagwat has seen the transformation.

As Mehuli Ghosh, Manu Bhakar and Saurabh Chaudhary — India’s young aspirants — prepare to bring more laurels to their country, the future of the sport looks bright, believes Bhagwat.

“The youngsters have been successful in all the major events and that’s a wonderful thing. The likes of Saurabh, Mehuli have plenty of time and they have a bright future ahead,” Anjali, who is one of the jury members for the Sportstar Aces Awards, said.

Read | Growing talent pool good for India, says Anju Bobby George

Anjali, a gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games in 2002, is impressed by the way young shooters have entered the big league. “Now in the senior team, nearly 60 per cent shooters are from the youth category. This shows how much we have improved over the years and where we exactly stand today,” Anjali said.

‘Unbelievable’

She is also excited to see Mehuli take the stage by storm. Last week, at the InterShoot international shooting championship at the Hague, the girl from Kolkata continued to assert her class and courage, fighting back from the brink of elimination in qualification to strike her second successive gold in women’s air rifle. “Her scores have been unbelievable. They are in the elite league already,” Anjali said.

Last year, Indian athletes enjoyed tremendous success. That’s why, when the five-member jury met in Mumbai to discuss the nominees for the awards, it was tough to pick the right candidate. “There was so much competition and it was difficult to choose the best candidate. This defines what a year our athletes had,” Anjali said.

“Not just shooting, even table tennis got a facelift and so many people are now taking up the sport. It is same with boxing, wrestling and badminton. That’s a positive for Indian sports,” she said.

“There is a big support from the corporate organisations and now one doesn’t need to hunt for anything as everything is taken care of. That’s a great thing,” she pointed out.