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.