It was not a great start for Indian women's shooters on the first day of the shooting event at the Tokyo Olympics. Neither Elavenil Valarivan nor Apurvi Chandela made it to the finals of the 10m air rifle event after a disappointing performance.
Elavenil finished 16th with 626.5 points while Apurvi finished with 621.9 points in 36th position.
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, Apurvi revealed she was left disappointed with her performances. This is what she had to say:
"I think I gave my best. I had decent beginnings, I had good shots in the middle and in the end. A few shots went here and there. Tough luck that it didn't go my way."
She went on to add that that she will try harder next time. Apurvi said:
"I was enjoying my match. I'm a little bit disappointed that I cannot be there on the podium. Hopefully next time"
Apurvi was performing well up until last year. On being asked what has changed, Apurvi said:
"I had a good run in 2019 and 2020 as well but we didn't compete much since March last year. Before that, I was constantly competing and performing. In addition, I also had some equipment issues. They were supposed to reach in March 2020 but the pandemic changed those plans."
Apurvi Chandela on testing positive for COVID-19
Apurvi tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year. She went on to add:
"I thought I would qualify for the finals - some shots went well, some didn't. But I'm happy that I gave my best. Before leaving for the Croatia camp, I was tested positive for COVID-19. So my plans have been disrupted quite a lot. It felt like it just wasn't my day today"
Testing positive for COVID-19 does take a lot out of an athlete. There is mental exhaustion and panic which affects every athlete and Apurvi was no exception. On COVID-19 affecting her performance, Apurvi said:
"When you face so many challenges together, they pile up on you. I didn't let it affect me. I have the mindset to always try to bounce back and keep my head up and keep performing."
On being asked whether she could have made it to the mixed events as well, Apurvi said:
"I did win medals in mixed events in 2019 in three World Cup events. I thought I would be in the mixed team but it's okay. It's not in my hands."
Apurvi also revealed the time crunch did not help her earlier today, especially with the last shot. She said:
"I was running against time as well today. I didn't have time to gather my thoughts in the last 20 minutes. I just knew I had to finish the match and shoot well. Tough luck today but I enjoyed the experience."
Apurvi's personal coach was not present due to limited accreditation at the Olympics. Her coach has to return from Croatia itself. On being asked how different it would have been if her coach had been there, Apurvi said:
"Maybe it would have helped, but I've played tournaments without him. I cannot make any excuses for it. Just not my day"