When shooter Anish Bhanwala won men’s 25m rapid fire pistol in Commonwealth Games in Australia on Friday, becoming India’s youngest gold medal winner in the international sporting event, his parents Jagpal and Poonam were accompanying his younger sister Muskaan to the national trials in Delhi.
“Every time he goes to compete in a tournament, he tells us that he will win a medal. And, we are happy that he has kept the promise. To become India’s youngest gold medallist in Commonwealth Games is the biggest reward for us. Anish was 11 years old when he first held a laser pistol for the pentathlon events. We got him a pistol for 10m in 2014. But, he always showed more interest in 25m rapid fire pistol events,” shared Jagpal who is an agriculturist and a lawyer.
In his four-year-long career, Anish became the junior champion in 25m standard pistol event in 2017 ISSF World Championships with a record score of 579, apart from a silver in 25m sports pistol. This year, Anish became the champion in 25m rapid fire event in ISSF Junior World Championships in Sydney last month where his younger sister Muskaan Bhanwala too became the champion in the same event in women’s category.
The family resides in Karnal, which does not have a 25m automatic range and both Anish and Muskaan wanted to train in Delhi. My husband had to leave his practice and we shifted to Faridabad. We also started farming in Gujarat where my husband got some land on lease with his friends to support Anish and Muskaan’s training and I would travel with the kids for every tournament. We could not go to Australia due to Muskaan’s trials but Anish’s gold medal ended our disappointment,” shared 36-year-old Poonam.
Last year’s nationals also saw Anish becoming the national champion in 25m rapid fire event, which also had the presence of 2012 Olympics silver medallist Vijay Kumar and and Anish’s initial coach 2010 and 2014 CWG medallist Harpreet Singh.
“This gold medal is just a stepping stone in his career. Anish has the talent to win an Olympics medal and his strength has been his focus and determination. When he and his sister started, they started training in 10m events initially at Sector 7 Range in Karnal. Anish’s speed was fast and we suggested him to start competing in 25m Rapid Fire events too. Last year, he became the national senior champion in 25 m Rapid Fire event and this boy is a special talent,” shared 38-year-old Harpreet who is currently a Deputy Superintendent of Police in Haryana.