Picture by ISSF

First Touch: Why shooting was boring for World no.1 Elavenil Valarivan? 

The ace shooter wanted to run away from a makeshift range in her first exposure to the sport
By Soham Mukherjee

In her first tryst with shooting, Elavenil Valarivan found the sport to be boring. Back in 2012, on a Sports day in her housing complex in Ahmedabad, she was introduced to the game.

"One of my dad's friends mentioned that his daughter is training upstairs and she is a shooter. My dad got interested and we went there," she narrated to Olympics.com.

It was a makeshift range in one of the rooms of the apartment where she found a senior girl shooting with a rifle, dressed in full costume. Far from being awed, the setup did not impress her at all.

"I was pulling my parents to just go from there. But my dad started insisting that I try my hands in the sport."

However, she did not shoot on the first day, and on her way back home she made it clear that she is not going back there. Yet destiny had other plans for her.

"I found it very boring. But he kept insisting and I started going there every Sunday. For the next six and seven months, I just held the gun and did not shoot a single shot. Again, that was the most boring period of shooting I ever had," she laughed.

Valarivan's shooting mate would get her spare gun and make her stand in position for hours every Sunday without allowing her to fire. And being an obedient girl, she would do as instructed.

"I did not even have the guts to tell her that let me fire at least once."

The First Medal

At school, on sports day there was a shooting competition. After just posturing with the rifle for almost six months she was eager to try her luck. And in the team event, she won a bronze medal.

"This sparked my interest in the sport. Without even training, I got a bronze, so if I train I could achieve much greater heights."

First experience in a shooting range

Soon she enrolled herself in the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association and started training there. She would go there on Sundays and practice for a few hours.

"So I started shooting regularly when I was in 10th standard. But after some time I joined Sanskar Dham where they signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Gun For Glory Academy (GFG)."

Then began her association with GFG which has continued until the present date. She began registering herself in local competitions and gradually she started to bloom.

"I started with friendly competitions. I think in my first friendly match I shot 205 out of 400. I didn't understand how bad the score was. Yet, I won gold and I was very happy.

"It still remains so special. It was a good motivation for me and I have it kept it in a safe place till now. I wish to frame it in the future."

Elavenil will be seen first in action at Tokyo in the women's 10m air rifle event which takes place on Saturday morning.