When 21-year-old Anish Bhanwala won a Paris Olympics quota for India in rapid fire pistol with a bronze at the Asian Championships in Changwon on Monday, it marked a significant turning point in his career. Back in 2017, Bhanwala burst onto the scene by winning two world junior titles and later claiming a gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in rapid fire pistol, all at the tender age of 15.
However, the journey to establish himself as a senior international shooter was not easy for Bhanwala. Despite coming close to podium finishes on numerous occasions, success continued to elude him. His performance in the individual competition at the Asian Games in Hangzhou was disappointing, finishing 22nd. Nonetheless, he managed to secure a team bronze.
At the Asian Championships in Changwon, Bhanwala finally broke his dry spell. Impressively, he excelled in both stages of qualification, shooting a score of 588, securing third position and qualifying for the six-shooter final. In the final, he displayed consistent form, amassing 28 points but unfortunately lost the shoot-off for the silver medal, settling for bronze.
This triumph not only ended Bhanwala's struggle but also earned India its fifth quota for the Paris Olympics. Indian shooters have now secured a total of 12 quota places for the prestigious event. Unfortunately, other Indian shooters, Vijayveer Sidhu and Adarsh Singh, missed out on the qualification.
In the trap event, the men's team secured a silver medal, finishing three points behind the gold medalists Qatar. Zoravar Singh Sandhu, Kynan Chenai, and Prithviraj Tondaiman contributed to this impressive feat. Zoravar also qualified for the final but finished sixth.
Indian shooters have been on a remarkable run ever since their successful outing at the Asian Games. Their consistent performances in Changwon have resulted in a total of 30 medals, including eight gold medals, for India.
With Anish Bhanwala's breakthrough at the Asian Championships, the future looks promising for Indian shooting on the international stage. The Paris Olympics quota serves as a testament to the nation's growing prowess in this sport and paves the way for further success in the future.