Commonwealth Games silver medallist Anjum Moudgil’s focused on improving her fitness and skill to seal her spot in the 10m air rifle event at Tokyo Olympics.

Moudgil had won a silver medal and Apurvi Chandela finished fourth in the women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF World Championship last September. They became the first set of Indian shooters to secure quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I never thought about quota, especially not in the air event. It was a good experience. I still remember each and every shot and I remember telling my coach ‘I feel very anxious’,” said Anjum, whose favourite event is 50m Rifle 3 Positions.

“Many people said sustaining a quota in air event is very difficult and I know I was not at my top-most level in the World Championships in air event. That gives me so much to work on. I will work on retaining the quota so that no one has any doubts left.”

Working on fitness

Although Moudgil has secured a quota, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will take the final call on selection based on the aggregate scores of shooters (in international tournaments and selection trials) leading up to the Olympic Games.

“With all the travelling last year I wasn’t able to concentrate on my fitness. This year we have planned in a way that I mostly stay in Chandigarh and work on the physical aspect.”

“This year is mainly the physical part and working on the techniques. The aim is to work on myself and not focus on any specific competition,” Moudgil said.

Last year the 25-year-old bagged three silver medals: at the first ISSF World Cup of the year, at the Commonwealth Games (in 50m Rifle 3 Positions) and at the World Championships (at the 10m air rifle).

“Winning in the Mexico World Cup was very motivating for me because I never thought of myself on an international podium at that level then I knew that if I work hard I can be there.”

About the change in format (women will have 60 shots in air rifle qualification instead of 40 and 120 in 3-position instead of 60), Moudgil said she relishes the new challenge.

“Number of shots have increased and for me, it’s really good. I love what’s more challenging physically and mentally. It’s really good that men and women have the same number of shots. Training with the same team members, for longer hours has worked well for me.”

Balancing two events

Asked if she finds it difficult to balance two events – 50m 3 Positions and 10m air – Moudgil says competing in two categories is only good for her confidence.

“10m air helps me in 3 position standing. For me it’s much more motivating to play both. I have a better confidence if I shoot two events.”

Apart from being an accomplished shooter, Moudgil enjoys painting and has also completed a master’s degree in sports psychology.

“Painting really helps me in shooting and sport psychology was really easy for me to understand. I use several of its aspects in my shooting like motivation, injury etc,” she said.