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World Cup Gold Medal Shooter Ankur Mittal May Be Forced to Change Discipline For Olympics

By: Amit Kumar

Edited By: Arnab Sen

News18 Sports

Last Updated: March 24, 2017, 13:34 IST

Ankur Mittal. (Image credit: NRAI)

Ankur Mittal. (Image credit: NRAI)

Double World Cup medallist shooter Ankur Mittal could be forced to leave his per event (double trap) in order to keep his 2020 Olympic hope alive.

New Delhi: Over the last one month, Indian shooter Ankur Mittal has been living a dream. First he shot a silver at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in New Delhi, and on Thursday he went one better to clinch the gold medal at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in the double trap event at Acapulco in Mexico.

Double trap is the event that gave India its first shooting medal at Olympics when country’s ace shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won a silver medal at the Athens Games in 2004.

But the discipline, which brought laurels to the country and created a revolution in the shooting arena, will not be seen in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 list.

To maintain gender equality at a mega tournament like Olympics, the ISSF has made recommendations to drop men's double trap event from the Tokyo Olympics list. Not just double trap, the federation has also decided to drop the 50m rifle prone and 50m pistol from the Tokyo list.

Ankur Mittal, a young double trap shooting sensation, had never thought he will have to leave his favourite discipline at a time when his career is on an upswing just to keep his Olympic dream alive.

"It is sad that an event like double trap is getting replaced which has brought laurels to the country," double trap shooter Ankur Mittal told News18.com in an exclusive interview just before embarking on his journey to Mexico.

"The first shooting medal in our country came through Rajyavardhan sir. Not just me, many shooters in our country opted for shooting as their career after his success," Ankur said.

After winning the silver medal at the season opening ISSF World Cup at the Dr. Karni Shooting Range in New Delhi, Ankur was determined to change the colour of his medal and he did so with a world record equalling effort in the final. He pipped his rival James Willet in the final to win back-to-back World Cup medals.

If the recommendations are approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the double trap men's event will be replaced with a trap mixed gender team event, the 50m rifle prone men's event with a 10m air rifle mixed gender team event and the 50m pistol men's event with a 10m air pistol mixed gender team event.

"If they want to talk about gender equality, they should come up with double trap mixed event instead of scrapping the entire discipline."

"All my hard work has gone in vain. This is all I want to say."

"Mixed event in shotgun will be a failure for India. Shooting is an individual sport and an individual medal matters a lot than a pair one," the Delhi shooter said.

Ankur Mittal wants to represent India at the Olympics and for that he is ready to make the big sacrifice and leave his pet event.

"I have given my life to shooting. It is my first love, so there is no question of leaving the sport. Yes, I will be shifting to other discipline – either trap or skeet. But, the shifting will be done only after Commonwealth Games and Asian Games next year."

"I have to start afresh now and I know it is not going to be easy. I was a kid when I started shooting and opted double trap as my discipline. I have to learn new things and write a new chapter. I am really dissapointed. My family and coaches are not happy too." the double World Cup medallist said.

Ankur hails from a family of shooters — his father Ashok Mittal was a shooting enthusiast and his elder brother Ajay Mittal is a National Championship and Junior Asian Championship title holder. The 24-year-old owes all success to his father and his elder brother.

"My father is my inspiration. He used to shoot but as a hobby and never professionally. My brother learnt the art from him. When you have someone to guide in the family, you do well. My brother had done his part and it was my turn to do it. Thankfully, I succeeded."

"My brother Ajay is a senior shooter. He has National Championship and Junior Asian Championship titles to his name. He has played many World Cups but missed out on a medal. I wanted to do something that he couldn’t. Hope, I have made both (father and brother) of them proud," the shooter signed off.
first published:March 24, 2017, 13:27 IST
last updated:March 24, 2017, 13:34 IST