Rio Olympics 2016: Analysing Apurvi Chandela's chances of winning a medal
Can Apurvi can lead India's juggernaut at Rio, we analyse her chances
For the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, India will be represented by more than 120 athletes. Earlier, the largest Indian contingent that had gone to the Olympics has been that of the 2012 London Olympics where 83 athletes took part. India managed to win only six medals in the last Games – four bronze medals and two silver medals. But this year, with a much larger Olympic contingent, the nation will be looking to overhaul their record of most medals at a single Olympic Games which were won at the last Games.
Apurvi Chandela can bag us a medal
The 23-year old Indian shooter who competes in the 10-metre air rifle had qualified for the Rio Olympic Games when she won bronze in the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea in April of last year. But the Indian did not stop there. She went on to win the silver medal in the ISSF World Cup Finals held in Munich late last year. The 10m shooter has had a proud journey from being a student of Sociology in the Delhi University to becoming one of the most competitive shooters in the world at the age of just 22.
She acclaimed her rise to the world shooting arena by working hard ever since she took up the sport after being inspired by Abhinav Bindra winning the gold at Beijing 2008. The shooter said that she developed a real interest in sports, especially in rifle shooting, when she watched the Beijing Olympics.
The Jaipur-born shooter picked up the sport in 2008 and by the end of 2012, she was already shooting at the senior level. She was only 19 years old then. The age factor has worked in her favor and she is now completely focusing on winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games for India.
In 2014, she won the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she scored 206.7 points – a tally which makes her the record holder in the Games. But apparently, the shooter did not manage to find much success in the ISSF World Cups that took place in 2016.
Her best finish was when she finished 18th in the ISSF World Cup held in Bangkok but only securing a 42nd and 67th rank in the Cup held in Baku and Munich respectively.
But her preparations for the Olympics have been on point as she just made an unofficial world record when she won two golds at the Swedish Open. India will be looking up to her to bag a medal when she takes the field in Rio.
Apurvi’s achievements in major tournaments so far:
Gold – 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow
Silver – 2015 ISSF World Cup Finals, Munich
Bronze – 2015 ISSF World Cup, Changwon
But the competition is tough
The number of Indian shooters attending the Olympics’ meet in Rio will be 12. But there are other shooters from across the world who will be competing for the medals at Rio 2016. The biggest challenge for the Indian shooters will be matching their opponents from China, Iran, Ukraine, Serbia, and Croatia.
The winner of the 2015 ISSF World Cup Finals in the 10m air rifle, Andrea Arsovic , will be the most fierce rival at the Games along with the experienced Ukrainian, Olena Kostevych. Chinese pair of Yi Siling and Du Li is also expected to be in top form during the event given their performances in the recently concluded ISSF World Cups in Baku and Rio De Janeiro.
The foreign shooters have been working hard, but shooting is a sport where it could be anyone’s day. There are a lot of factors which can influence the performance of the shooters on a particular day. Shooters are also expecting windy conditions at the Rio Shooting Range, and India will be hoping it can work in their shooters’ favor.
Whereas, there will be only one Indian who will be accompanying Apurvi at the Games in the 10m air rifle, fellow 23-year old, Ayonika Paul. Whilst unlikely, Indians would be hoping they give a repeat performance of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games where they won the Gold and Silver.