India's 10m air rifle shooter Apurvi Chandela has mentioned that the presence of young shooters, including Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker, in the Indian shooting team has energised the senior markspersons like her.
Apurvi Chandela spoke candidly about the emergence of young shooting stars apart from India's medal prospects at the Olympics in an exclusive chat with Indranil Basu on Sportskeeda Live.
Apurvi Chandela was asked what the secret recipe for India unearthing bright young talents in shooting is, with the likes of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker doing so well.
She responded that the youngsters have an inherent drive to perform well and that their energy has even revitalised the senior Indian shooters including her.
"I think it is the kind of environment that we have now with all these youngsters around. I am a little senior now, so all of us have got a great push from them, the kind of energy that they have got into the team. They are go-getters, all of them. And that's what has brought so many laurels for the country now in shooting."
Apurvi Chandela highlighted the large number of shooters who are participating in the nationals currently which is a welcome sign for the future, as the talents identified could bring great laurels for the county even at the Olympic stage.
"Earlier when I started out, there used to be 500-600 participants in the nationals but now we have players in thousands that are coming. So I think there is a lot of talent in the country, since so many shooters are coming in and trying out the sport and hopefully in the future we will have more Olympic medals as well from shooting."
Apurvi Chandela on India's medal prospects at the Olympics
On being asked how many medals we could expect from shooting at the Tokyo Olympics 2021, Apurvi Chandela responded that it would be difficult to give a number with all the shooters capable of winning a medal.
"I can't really say because everyone has got the capability to win a medal. Hopefully many, but it will be difficult to point out how many as a number."
Apurvi Chandela was further asked about her estimated medal count for India across the sports at the Olympics. The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist mentioned that it would be difficult to hazard a guess while adding that she hopes for at least 6-7 medals, if not more.
"It is very difficult to say, I have never though about it like that. Hopefully 6 or 7 at least or maybe more. Because we do have a lot of great athletes in our country. So hopefully looking at that, we will have a lot more medals."
On being asked if the introduction of the mixed team events at the upcoming Olympics will increase India's medal hopes, Apurvi Chandela replied in the affirmative. She reasoned that the Indian team did exceptionally well in these events at the World Cups held last year.
"I think it will. Because looking at the World Cups we played last year, we have had a lot of medals in the mixed team event as well. I won three medals myself. So I think it has increased the chances of our winning medals for sure."
Apurvi Chandela signed off by stating that it would improve her medal prospects as well, since she would have two events to take part in rather than the solitary 10m air rifle individual event that she had participated in at the Rio Olympics.
"Because earlier, like in Rio 2016, I had participated only in one event. Now I can go for two. My individual event and the mixed team, so it definitely increases the chances for us. Ya, that's a big think to look forward to."
The addition of the mixed team events at the Olympics has certainly brightened India's hopes of medals from shooting.
With India having a strong contingent in the air rifle and air pistol events in the men's and women's sections, coupled with their excellent performances over the last couple of years, the nation would be expecting at least a couple of medals from these events.