CWG 2018

All you need to know about Anish Bhanwala, India’s youngest Commonwealth Games gold medallist

At 15, Anish Bhanwala, like other kids of his age, is studying for his exams. And, unlike other kids of age, won a CWG gold medal.

Schoolgoing sportspersons’ lives are similar to that of superheroes. Like the latter – at least those with day jobs – they juggle two key aspects of their lives. Studies and sports. Education and passion.

Anish Bhanwala is of that ilk. He had to skip his board exams to participate in global shooting events. He was, of course, rightfully permitted to take them later. But, good choice. For, it has resulted in several gold medals. The most important one, so far in his career, came on Thursday.

On Thursday, Anish, 15, became the country’s youngest Commonwealth Games gold medal winner when he won the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event at the Belmont Shooting Centre with a Games record score.

He bettered the record set by another Indian teenager – Manu Bhaker (aged 16) – another shooter, who won the 10m Air Pistol final last week.

Anish has a junior world record in shooting, a World Cup gold among other medals, and is already beating seniors and Olympic veterans in India.

Anish took up the sport after trying his hand at modern pentathlon, when his talent with the gun was spotted by senior shooters.

And, this shooting superpower his sibling, Muskan, also possesses. Their father Jagpal, an advocate in Karnal, gave up his practice and moved to Delhi about three years ago to ensure his children have the best facilities to practice.

“Senior shooters saw them at the trials in Kerala in 2015 and were very impressed. They said Anish could do well in the future internationally because he has world-class technique. I enrolled them in shooting training and after that I am totally focused, 24-hours on the kids,” Jagpal told The Field last September.

As for the pending exams, Anish jokingly told The Field in February, “Pure saal padhai kam hui hain, (I have not studied a lot in the last year). But now I have tuitions in the last 10-12 days, one and a half hour in the morning and evening.”

Now, when he goes back to school, Anish might get autograph requests.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

Play


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.