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Tokyo Olympics | Apurvi, Elavenil poised to excel in air rifle

Best bets: Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan carry India’s expectations.  

A golden start in shooting will be the best way forward for the Indian contingent in Tokyo. The onus will be on two of the best women air rifle shooters Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan, who have dominated the event and taken turns to be World No. 1.

After the breakthrough of Anjali Bhagwat and Suma Shirur, making the Olympic finals in the event in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, India has never had it this bright.

Apurvi had won two World Cup gold medals in 2019 before the pandemic and shot a world record 252.9 in the Delhi final. That record still stands against her name. Incidentally, it is better than the men’s world record. The 28-year-old Apurvi, competing in her second Olympics after Rio, has the experience. A recent dip in her score has only helped Apurvi focus a lot more. The 21-year-old Elavenil, a prodigy trained by Olympic medallist Gagan Narang, will be happy to prove her class.

From being the World Championship junior silver medallist in 2018, Elavenil has come a long way, winning the World Cup gold in Rio and the World Cup Final gold in Putian China, in 2019.

The 20-year-old Mary Carolyn Tucker of the US and the 19-year-old Eszter Meszaros of Hungary will be the ones to follow.

In men’s air pistol, India has Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma, who have also taken turns to be World No. 1 in the event.

Both have taken quick steps to reach the top of the world, starting with their maiden international exposure in the Asian Games in Palembang in 2018.

Saurabh won the gold and Abhishek a bronze in the Asian Games, in a world- class field.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:41:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/apurvi-elavenil-poised-to-excel-in-air-rifle/article35499957.ece

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