Ankur Mittal on Thursday handed India gold at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in the double trap event at Acapulco, Mexico.
The 24-year-old is the latest addition to India’s celebrated shooting contingent, that has emerged as a force to be reckoned with at the world stage.
Mittal had burst onto the scene last month after winning silver in the same event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi. He could have won gold then as well. He scored 74, losing by a just a point to James Willet of Australia, who shot 75.
It was only fitting that on Thursday, when he won gold by edging Willet. This time Ankur shot 75, with the Australian managing 73.
Other than the World Cup gold and silver, the double-trap marksman’s achievements include gold and bronze at the Asian Shooting Championships in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
The Delhi boy comes from a family of competitive shooters, with father Ashok and elder brother Ajay both renowned shotgun shooters. While Ajay has won two junior Asian golds, his father still participates in the nationals.
Hailing from Sonepat, the family migrated to Delhi where Ankur picked up the sport in earnestness at the age of 17.
The youngster has been steadily rising up the ladder each year. 2017, though, has been a game-changer. The silver in February, was his first ever World Cup medal and the gold just a month later only underscores the progress Ankur has made in the past few years.
While, his rise signals the arrival of India’s latest ‘shooting star’, it might not lead to an Olympic medal as double trap shooting has been dropped by the ISSF executive committee and administrative council from the Olympics along with the 50m rifle prone and 50m pistol events.
The discipline, however, will be part of the 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games. All eyes will be on Ankur to stretch his fine form into the next year, and help maintain India’s steady rise in the world of shooting.