The medals tally for India at the Commonwealth Games has been constantly rolling with shooters and wrestlers clinching medals in plenty. With ten Gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, Indian sportspersons are shining bright at the event. The biggest surprise this year at the games was 16-year-old Malaika Goel, who clinched the silver medal in the women's 10 metre air pistol shooting.Gagan Narang has bagged a Silver medal and with Abhinav Bindra bidding goodbye to the Commonwealth Games with a Gold this year, the future of shooting in India seems in safe hands with the young crop of shooters who have notched one medal after the other at the shooting events. Did you know Gold medal winner Apurvi Chandela is a student of Sociology and bronze medal winner Lajja Gauswami is a police inspector in Gujarat? Meet these young Indian shooters who have won laurels at this year's Commonwealth Games.
Apurvi Chandela, the young gun from India bagged the Gold medal in the 10 metre Air Rifle event after setting a record with a score of 206.7 in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Glasgow. Apurvi Chandela comes from Jaipur, Rajasthan and was born in Jaipur, on January 4, 1993. A final year student of Sociology at Delhi University’s Jesus and Mary College, Apurvi Chandela won her first gold medal at the age of 19 in the Senior National Championship in 2012. She had previously won a Gold and a Bronze medal in March 2014, at the 37th Inter-Shoot Championship in the Netherlands.
Lajja Gauswami notched the bronze medal in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions at the Commonwealth Games 2014. She hails from Anand district of Gujarat. She is a former National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadet and was conferred the Raksha Mantri medal. A brand ambassador for Gujarat, she became the first sportswoman to be appointed as a police inspector in the Gujarat police cadre in the sports quota.
Rahi Sarnobat: 23-year-old Rahi Sarnobat hails from Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Rahi’s inspiration is fellow Maharashtrian & 50m rifle prone world champion Tejaswini Sawant. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, Rahi has claimed the Gold medal in women’s 25-metre pistol event. The young and vivacious shooter loves the game so much that she says her first date will happen at a shooting range!
Malaika Goel: Malaika Goel, the 16-year-old silver medal winner in the women’s 10 metre air pistol shooting at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, beat her own idol Heena Sidhu at the event! The teenager has a shooting range at home that her father built after he saw her interest in the sport. A school drop-out, Malaika is a professional shooter who unlike other teenagers is not a big fan of social networking or smartphones!
Prakash Nanjappa: Prakash Nanjappa, born 29 February 1976, is an Indian shooter who competes in the 10 metre air pistol and 50 metre pistol events. Son of P. N. Papanna, a national-level shooter, Prakash Nanjappa’s first love was motorbike rallies, but he started shooting in 1999. The silver medal winner in the men’s 10 metre air pistol shooting at the Commonwealth Games has shifted to Canada in 2003 and continued working as a software engineer abroad till 2009. He quit his job to pursue shooting on his father’s insistence.
Ayonika Paul: 21-year-old Ayonika Paul is an Indian shooter who clinched the silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The youngster is studying to be an engineer in Mumbai and loves sports and academics just as much. She says she carries her books during her tournaments so she doesn’t miss out on her studies. The young girl first won a gold medal in the International Junior Shooting Competition in Munich in 2008.
Anisa Sayyed: In 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow, she won a Silver in women’s 25-metre pistol event. Once a ticket checker at the Vile Parle, Mumbai, this Indian Railways employee is right now without a job because her requests to be transferred to Delhi went in vain. Anisa took to shooting over a decade ago and had won two gold medals at 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Harpreet Singh clinched the silver in the men’s 25 metre rapid fire pistol at the Commonwealth Games 2014. The shooter hails from Karnal, Haryana and serves the Indian Navy as a sailor. He says his talent as a shooter was spotted by senior officers in the Indian Navy.
Sanjeev Rajput took the silver in men’s 50m rifle 3 positions events in Commonwealth Games 2014. An Arjuna awardee, Rajput hails from Haryana and had joined the Indian Navy at the age of 18.
Manavjit Sandhu is a known face when it comes to shooting in India. The bronze medal winner at the men’s trap event at Commonwealth Games 2014, has been awarded the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award in the past. Son of Gurbir Singh Sandhu, who was also a trap shooter and in fact represented India at the 1976 Olympic Games, shooting runs in Manavjit Sandhu’s blood.