First Touch: How 'sports fanatic' Apurvi Chandela took up shooting? 

The World Cup gold medallist kept sports journalism as a backup career option 
By Soham Mukherjee

Apurvi Chandela has sporting genes in her family. Her mother Bindu Rathore and her sisters were national-level basketball players. Following their example, Chandela also wanted to play basketball but her height was a problem. Although she did not know that she would be a professional sportsperson, from her childhood, she was into sports.

But the gold medal of Abhinav Bindra in the Beijing Olympics changed her career perspective.

"When I started shooting, I was in Class XI at Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls School, Jaipur," she had stated previously to TOI.

In fact, she was such a sports fanatic that she kept sports journalism as a backup career option so that she could stay close to the action and the athletes.

"I was a big fan of cricket and soccer and would watch a live match at any time of the night. For major tournaments like FIFA or ICC World Cup, I would have a whole scheduled lineup."

Her parents were also very supportive from the very beginning. Her mother would accompany her to the training sessions, and if she had a bad day at the range, she would be there to comfort her. She even has a shooting range at home so that she could practice at her will. That came in handy, especially during the lockdown.

Chandela has had quite a few landmarks in her career. Let's take a look at them:

First National medal

In 2009, Chandela won a national-level school shooting competition. Whereas, three years later in 2012, she would go on to win the national shooting championship in the 10m air rifle category. She beat Pooja Ghatkar of Maharashtra by 0.2 points with a 10.7 last shot.

First International Medal

Chandela bagged her first significant medal at the 37th edition of the Intershoot Championship in Hague, Netherlands which was held from February 6-8. She won her individual gold in her first match and later went on to win three more medals including team events.

First Commonwealth medal

In 2014, she won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. She shot 206.7 in the finals and went on to create a new Games record.

"My parents travelled to Glasgow in 2014. They took a farmhouse and were staying in the countryside. About 14 of them went to cheer for me. It was an amazing feeling to have won gold in front of them - national anthem playing and the tricolour going up - that was the career-best moment that I probably had."

Interestingy, the medal also came a day after her idol Bindra won gold in the same category (10m air rifle).

“It was my first major medal and he had just won his gold the day before,” she recounted on an Instagram chat show called CollaboNation.

First World Cup medal

In 2015, she carried her rich vein of form and won her first individual medal in an ISSF World Cup in Changwon, courtesy of finishing third with a score of 185.6. Later that year, she bettered her performance in Munich and won a silver.

When is Apurvi Chandela in action at Tokyo 2020?

Apurvi Chandela will be in action on Saturday as she strives to win an Olympic medal for India in the women's 10m air rifle event.