India’s shooting star Apurvi Chandela: A photographer, animal lover and globetrotter

Apurvi, a former World No.1 in the discipline, will be representing India in her second Olympics.

By Samrat Chakraborty

Apurvi Chandela will be one of India’s medal hopefuls at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in the women's 10m air rifle event.

A former World No.1 in the discipline, Chandela will be representing India in her second Olympics. She booked her berth for Tokyo 2020 after finishing fourth in the 2018 World Championships in Changwon, South Korea with a score of 207.

She had made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016. However, it was a disappointing run for her as she finished 34th in the qualification round and did not make the cut for the finals. She will, however, look to bury the demons and come out strong in Tokyo.

We take a peek into the 28-year-old’s life and her many interests:

Apurvi Chandela Photo: ISSF

Early life

Apurvi was born to hotelier Kuldeep Singh Chandela and Bindu Rathore in Jaipur. She went to the Mayo College Girls School in Ajmer & Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls' School in Jaipur and later graduated in sociology from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University.

She aspired to be a sports journalist early on. But her career path changed after she saw Abhinav Bindra clinch India's first Olympic individual gold medal at Beijing 2008.

Connection with shooting

Chandela’s great grandfather's cousin was a coach to five-time Olympian Dr. Karni Singh - one of the most accomplished shooters during his time - after whom the shooting range in New Delhi is named.

Moreover, her parents were also interested in shooting during their time. And Apurvi, born in Rajasthan, had to make a choice between polo and shooting.

Start to rifle shooting career

Just in a few weeks after taking up the sport, she bagged a bronze medal in the state level competition.

Chandela shot a perfect 10 the first time she stepped into a shooting range in Jaipur. Looking at her dedication, her father gifted Apurvi a rifle and uncle Hem Singh, built a shooting range at their place to help her with her practice sessions.

She made her mark on the national scene as he won a gold medal at the 2012 national shooting championships.

Chandela then bagged four medals at the Intershoot championships at The Hague in 2014. In the same year, she won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, with a score of 206.7, to set a new record in the Games.

Rise to top

2019 was a memorable year for Chandela as she rose to No 1 in the world rankings.

She attained the top rankings after she shot a record 252.9 to clinch gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup 2019 in New Delhi.

Interests and superstitions

Chandela, who is mentored by Olympian Gagan Narang, also has quite a few interests outside the shooting range.

"I had seen images shot by Gagan (Narang) and I really liked them. Somewhere at the back of my mind I always wanted to learn nature/wildlife photography. So, I am doing an online course. I wanted to get better at it but never got time earlier due to shooting," Chandela said in an interview in May last year.

She has tried her hand at photography and wants to learn more about its nuances. The 28-year-old is also known to be an animal lover and has three pet dogs.

The life of an international athlete can be hectic, but Chandela loves to travel and always makes the time to stop and smell the roses. Rome, the Eternal City, is her favourite destination.

Chandela also has a keen interest in languages, and wants to learn German.

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