Tokyo Olympics: 3 teenage Indian shooters who will be eyeing gold

Much is expected of pistol shooters Manu Bhaker (left) and Saurabh Chaudhary
Much is expected of pistol shooters Manu Bhaker (left) and Saurabh Chaudhary

India will be sending its strongest-ever shooting contingent to the Tokyo Olympics. As many as 15 shooters have qualified for 11 different events. Most of the Indian shooters who have made the cut are among the very best in the world and expectations are of a golden dawn. And the many young shooters, who have emerged in the last two-three years, in the mix are expected to play a key role.

We take a look at three teenage shooters who are expected to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

Shooters in the Spotlight

#1. Divyansh Singh Panwar

Age: 18

Events: 10m air rifle men & 10m air rifle mixed team

Divyansh Singh Panwar - the 18-year-old is India's best 10m air rifle shooter
Divyansh Singh Panwar - the 18-year-old is India's best 10m air rifle shooter

Divyansh Singh Panwar, 18, is India's top 10m air rifle shooter. He rose to become the world number one at the age of 17 and is presently ranked second in the world, behind Istvan Peni of Hungary. The teenage sensation from Jaipur has had a meteoric rise in the last three years, winning medals in almost all the major international competitions.

He has been successful in both the men's 10m air rifle and the 10m mixed team event, partnering women's 10m air rifle sensation Elavenil Valarivan.

In the men's 10m air rifle event, Divyansh has won gold at the ISSF World Cup Final in Putian in 2019, silver at the ISSF World Cup in Beijing in 2019 and a bronze at the 2021 ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. He is a big medal prospect among the Indian shooters and will be one of the favorites to win gold.

In the mixed team event, his performances have been even better. His partnership with Elavenil Valarivan has been near peerless. They won World Cup gold medals in Beijing, Munich and New Delhi and also the World Cup Final gold in Putian in just the last two years. They are overwhelming favorites to win gold in this event in Tokyo.

If Divyansh performs to form he is in with a chance to win two gold medals, which will be an unbelievable achievement for shooters his age.

#2. Saurabh Chaudhary

Age: 19

Events: 10m air pistol men & 10m air pistol mixed team

My name is Chaudhary, Saurabh Chaudhary
My name is Chaudhary, Saurabh Chaudhary

Air pistol sensation Saurabh Chaudhary burst onto the scene in 2018 with gold at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2019, he dominated the men's 10m air pistol event, winning back-to-back gold medals at World Cups in New Delhi and Munich. These results ensured that Saurabh became the world number one in no time. He is presently ranked No. 2 behind compatriot Abhishek Verma. If Saurabh shoots well in Tokyo, he will be one of the big favorites in his pet event.

Like Divyansh, Saurabh too has an excellent record in the 10m air pistol mixed team event, where he gangs up with another teenage sensation, Manu Bhaker. The two shooters have dominated this new event like no other pairing, winning as many as four World Cup golds (three in 2019 and one in 2021). Saurabh and Manu will also be the favorites in their event.

#3. Manu Bhaker

Age: 19

Events: 10m air pistol women, 25m pistol women & 10m air pistol mixed team

19-year-old Manu Bhaker is a potential multiple gold medalist in Tokyo
19-year-old Manu Bhaker is a potential multiple gold medalist in Tokyo

At 19, Manu Bhaker has already established herself as one of the best pistol shooters in the world. She rose to fame winning gold in the women's 10m air pistol event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Since then, Manu has been on a roll, winning medals in most of the international events she has participated. She is the top shooter in both the 10m air pistol and the 25m pistol events. With the 10m air pistol mixed team event added to the mix, she will be representing India in as many as three events at the Tokyo Olympics, which will be the most by any Indian shooter.

She is currently number two in the world in the women's 10m air pistol discipline, behind her compatriot Yashaswini Singh Deswal, and seventh in the 25m pistol event. Manu and Saurabh make up the top-ranked pairing in their mixed event.

Manu has a chance of winning three titles in Tokyo. However, she is not among the favorite shooters in the 25m pistol event. But her other events could see Manu gunning for gold.

Quick Links

Edited by Prasad Mathew