Anish Bhanwala is a real prodigy in the shooting. He is only 17 and has already shocked the world with his performance. In a candid chat with ‘ITV Network’, he revealed many aspects of his life. Here are the excerpts-
Q: You are from Haryana. You never competed in more popular games of the state like wrestling and boxing?
A: Well, I picked swimming first. Later I started running and added shooting after a while. With the pack of sports, I participated in Pentathlon. I did fairly well there. But the pressure of study and involvement in so many sports took a heavy toll. So I sacrificed swimming and running. From the early days of 2014 onwards, I decided to push my limits in only shooting.
Q: Tell us something about your family?
A: My father is in agriculture and also an advocate. My sister was a well-known shooter. She fetched a lot of medals from various ranges around the world. Right now, she is pursuing her MBBS degree.
Q: You focus on 25-meter rapid fire pistol more. Why?
A: Actually it’s an Olympic event and this category is a constant in all major international competitions. So, to bring the big medal, I focus on rapid-fire the most.
Q: Can you tell our readers about your sweetest and saddest moments of life?
A: My best moment came when I broke the World record in my first international competition. It happened at Suhl in the 2017 World Cup. I crashed a 15-year standing record of 574 and took the mark to a new height of 579. I also felt equally happy when I stood in the middle of the podium in Commonwealth Games. I was only 15 then.
I felt at my lowest when I missed the ticket to Tokyo 2020 by a whisker. I participated in the Asian championship in Doha. Top 10 was getting a place for the Olympics. I finished 11th.
Q: When did you feel the most intense amount of pressure in your career?
A: During the whole period of Commonwealth games, I underwent this phase. That was my biggest competition and maximum eyes were on my performance. I am happy that I came out with flying colours.
Q: Where do you perceive yourself 10 years from now?
A: I am only 17. So, it’s too early to judge the course of my career. But yes, I want to continue shooting and bring more glory to the nation.
Q: For 3 months, you are in your home in Karnal. The prevailing situation in Delhi is not good enough for on-ground training. In this lockdown phase, how are you practicing?
A: I have made a makeshift range of 10 meters at my residence. On it, I am maintaining my rhythm. I am leaving no stone unturned as far as practice is concerned.
Q: Shooting is the most demanding game when it comes to the aspect of mental toughness. What special you do for focus and concentration?
A: Meditation and Yoga (especially Pranayama) are well-known methods. If I say it helps then I am partially correct. The pressure is bound to come into tournaments. The guidance of coaches, confidence, and experience is of more importance there.
Q: How will you connect the relationship between physical workouts in a mental game like shooting?
A: It’s vital. A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. To hold the weapon, maintain grip, and confidence you need a solid frame. That’s why I hit the gym for about an hour daily.
Q: Anything extra you are doing in these homebound hours?
A: Well, I am following a tight routine and focussing on shooting as usual. I am spending time with family, which earlier was a tough call.
Q: Lastly, something you want to say to youths?
A: A combination of sports and study is necessary for life. Sports teach many aspects of life. But it is a very risky business. The study gives you a backup afterlife in sports.