Elavenil Valarivan will be one of those watched with more than normal interest when she lines up in the Shooting competition in the National Games.
Not just because she is a home favourite but also because she wants to give home fans an indication of the consistency that has made her one of India’s top Air Rifle competitors.
“My National Games debut will happen in my place and there is a lot of excitement. I think Shooting in front of the home crowd will have a different feeling. I must play a big role in motivating local shooters in the National Games,” the Olympian said.
“I would like to be in a good frame of mind for the coming World Championship with a good showhere.”
A product of Gagan Narang’s Gun for Glory Academy in Sakshardham, Elavenil feels the recent renovation of the shooting range here would help shooters. “I think more and more youngsters will take to the sport. The range looks beautiful. I would get the opportunity to shoot here frequently and, hopefully, there will be more big competitions here,” she said.
Ela, as 2012 Olympic medallist Gagan Narang calls her, is grateful to her mentor. “He is a role model. I have been inspired by his achievements. What I like about him is his cool demeanor. That Is important for any shooter,” the 23-year-old said.
“He would simply say be cool. Mental toughness is important, particularly in tight situations. Over the years, I have learnt from my mistakes. Self-belief is another key factor.”
Elavenil showed promise when she joined Gun for Glory in 2014. She announced her arrival on the world stage when won the silver medal in the 2018 World junior Championships.Her big moment came when she won gold in ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro,becoming only the fifth Indian woman to have won a World Cup gold in 33 years.
Though she disappointed in the Tokyo Olympics, Elavenil feels the next few years would be very crucial. “My immediate priority is the coming World Championship in Cairo, Egypt, from October 12, 2022. I have been training hard. I am looking at consistency and that is important to the run up the Asian Games and Paris Olympics,” she said.
Elavenil said the competition in India Is very good. “We have some of the best shooters. And events like the National Championships and the National Games are good competition. These help us grow and help us find good form before international events,” she said.