On Friday, when 24-year-old Derabassi shooter Angad Vir Singh Bajwa shot a world record equaling score of 60 to edge out Mairaj Ahmad Khan of Uttar Pradesh to claim the gold medal in the men’s skeet final in the 63rd National Shooting Championship at New Delhi, it was the second time in Bajwa’s career that the Punjab youngster had shot a world record equaling score of 60 in the final.
Bajwa, who edged out Khan by two shots in the final to win his second successive gold medal in nationals, had earned the quota for India for 2020 Olympics with a gold medal finish in the Asian Shooting Championships early this month and the Punjab shooter was glad to finish the year on a high before he takes a small break from shooting before he starts training again for the Olympics. It was also Bajwa’s birthday on Friday when he matched the world record.
“It feels good to shoot a world record equaling score of 60 and end the year on a high or should I say start the year with a high on my birthday (laughs). I had shot the same score in last year’s Asian Championships to match world champion Vincent Hancock’s world record score of 60 and to shoot the same score to win my second successive gold medal in the nationals will add a lot to my confidence. The conditions in Delhi were good and I enjoyed shooting at the Karni Singh ranges. I have been shooting in almost every competition since the last one year and will take a break of a week or two before I resume training,” shared Bajwa, who had shot 123/125 in the qualification.
Bajwa, whose father Gurpal Singh is based in Canada, had started as a pistol shooter but later turned his attention to shot gun shooting. With the family moving to Canada, Angad had become the youngest Canadian Open champion five years ago before he started competing for India.
The youngster became the national skeet champion last year and followed the nationals gold medal with a gold medal in Asian Championships in Kuwait last year, where he first matched the world record score of 60 in the final.
Bajwa, who trains under 2008 Olympics silver medallist Tore Brovold of Norway, had earned quota for India for 2020 Olympics with a gold medal finish along with Mairaj in Asian Shooting Championships at Doha. In Doha too, Bajwa had edged out Mairaj after a shoot-off and the top-two finish for India meant that the country bagged two quotas on offer in skeet in Doha.
“When I shoot, my only focus is to shoot according to my game plan and also to give my best. At Doha early this month, I had gone to win the gold medal and was happy that I could achieve that. Winning the quota for India for 2020 Olympics made that gold medal special for me and it also meant that I have more time to prepare keeping specifically the Olympics in mind as securing the quota for the country is half the job done. I am not giving the trials later this month as I will ask NRAI to consider my last three scores with the score with Delhi being the latest,” said Bajwa.
With the Indian shooting team to be announced based on the NRAI selection policy considering the scores and other qualifying criteria set by the national body, Bajwa is confident of making the cut and will train under Brovold once he resumes training.
“The shooting range at Tokyo will be a new range so we will have to search for a range, which offers conditions like Tokyo. Most probably, I will be training in Italy or Cyprus and the aim will be to shoot consistently and to maintain my rhythm,” concluded Bajwa.