Ankur Mittal hopeful for 2018 Commonwealth Games medal
Promising shooter Ankur Mittal has been on a roll. Ever since his silver-medal winning show at the World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year, Mittal has been unstoppable. He went on to win medals in almost every major tournament in 2017, including a gold each at the Mexico World Cup and the Asian Shotgun Championships. And his recent World Shotgun Championship show — a silver in Moscow — saw him climb to the top of the International Shooting Sport Federation’s (ISSF) world rankings for double trap.
It was certainly a proud moment for the 25-year-old shooter and the country as he became the second Indian shooter ever after Ronjan Sodhi (2011) to attain the numero uno status in double trap shooting. The Delhi-based Mittal dethroned the experienced Vitaly Fokeev, 43, in the rankings.
“It is one of the happiest moments in my life, sort of a dream come true. I have been in good form recently for which I have practiced hard and stayed focused in tournaments. I hope I can maintain this form and result in the future,” Mittal told this correspondent on the sidelines of a felicitation programme at the Manav Rachna International University in Faridabad from where the shooter is pursuing his MBA.
While Mittal was elated to join Sodhi at the top of the ISSF world rankings, the latter felt the younshooter has a long way to go and “it’s just the beginning of a great career.”
“2017 has been phenomenal for Ankur. And he deserves all the accolades, support and encouragement for bringing laurels to the country. He has a bright future ahead,” said Sodhi on his junior compatriot.
Mittal added: “I have grown up looking upto Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Sir and Ronjan (Sodhi) bhaiya, who is like a mentor to me. It is such a proud moment for me to stand beside him.”
The timing was perfect for Mittal to make the jump in the rankings, coming just ahead of the World Cup Finals, to be held here at the Karni Singh Shooting range from October 23 to 30. And the home boy, who qualified for the Finals after his silver at the World Cup in New Delhi, was excited to go into the tournament as the favourite.
“I am keenly looking forward to it. Pressure is always there when you perform infront of home fans and family. It’s not easy to keep up to their expectation but I will try to live up to that. My whole focus is on the World Cup Finals now. I want to do win a medal there and I have to be mentally and physically strong for that,” he said.
Besides the New Delhi event, Mittal is looking to do well in next year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games. “2018 is an important year in regard to sports and I have already started training. A gold at the Commonwealth Games looks realistic though Asian Games would be tough owing to the presence of tough teams like China, Japan etc.,” said Mittal, who has won medals since a junior in 2010. A medal at the 2018 CWG could ease the pain the 2014 Glasgow Games had left--he missed out a medal by a whisker in his maiden appearance.
From being a diffident kid to becoming a confident shooter sitting atop the world rankings, Mittal admitted to have come a long way and there’s a long way ahead, just that he needs to stay “focused towards his goals of winning”.
Mittal’s feats are one of the bright sides in Indian shooting, which has undergone a major rebuilding following the Rio Olympics debacle. Hopefully, many more such results can bring back the glorious days of shooting in the country.