Name: Apurvi Chandela
Category: 10m Air Rifle event
Past Commonwealth Games performance: Gold in Women's 10m Air Rifle, 2014
Best performances: Gold in Women's 10m Air Rifle at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 , Bronze in Women's 10m air rifle at ISSF World Cup, Changwon 2015, Silver in Women's 10m air rifle at ISSF World Cup Finals 2015.
Apurvi Chandela will enter the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, as the reigning champion with the aim of becoming the first Indian shooter to defend her title at the games. Understandably lot of expectations will be pinned on the ace shooter hailing from Jaipur, where she trains at a shooting range built at her home.
Chandela made a name for herself in air rifle shooting rather quickly. She was inspired to take up the gun at the age of 15 after Abhinav Bindra's historic gold medal victory in Bejing, 2008. Four years later Apurvi's adept approach helped her turn professional. In her first year at the senior circuit she won the gold medal at the National Championships in 2012.
Chandela won two medals — gold and bronze — at the 35th Intershoot competition held in 2014 in the Netherlands.
Chandela's shooting career accentuated with a gold in her first outing at the CWG in 10m air rifle event at Glasgow in 2014. In the same event Ayonika Paul clinched silver to improve India's medal tally. With the women's air rifle team failing to qualify for the London Olympics in 2012, the CWG victory added significance to the victory. On a personal front, Chandela battled a ligament tear on the ankle, before winning the gold medal. She won the event with much aplomb on the back of a games record score in qualification and in the finals.
Moving from strength to strength, Chandela, a recipient of the Arjuna Award, became the first Indian woman to secure a berth for the Rio Games by winning a bronze medal at the World Cup in Changwon, South Korea in 2015. Subsequently, it was also her first World Cup medal. Later that year, she bettered her performance by claiming a silver at the World Cup final in Munich.
Chandela broke the world record for the finals round by shooting 211.2 to win gold at the Swedish Grand Prix in January 2016. She attained career-best sixth rank later that year. The win was an ideal boost ahead of the Rio Olympics.
Unfortunately the journey in Brazil wasn't quite the fairytale that she would've been hoping for, as Chandela was unable to qualify for the finals and finished at a rather disappointing 34th from the 51 participants.
The 25-year-old is one of the biggest names that will begin the quest for a medal from the Indian contingent and the Olympian would be looking to start the year on the right note with events like Asian Games and ISSF World Championship lined up later in 2018.
Click here to read profiles of other Indian athletes involved in the Commonwealth Games 2018
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 17, 2018 12:44:14 IST