When junior rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan, 18, took the field to compete in the seniors trials on Tuesday, she had no idea she was going to shoot a world-record equaling score.
Participating in only her fourth senior match, all Elavenil wanted to score well, but the Ahmedabad girl finished with a final score of 252.1 to win women’s 10m air rifle gold. She defeated her experienced senior Elizabeth Koshi (247.7) by 4 points, while Rio Olympics participant Ayonika Paul finished third with 226.1.
Elavenil equaled the current senior world record which was created by China’s Shi Mengyao in the New Delhi World Cup in January this year. The record was made after new Final rules came into effect from January 1 this year. Although, Elavenil’s score will not be considered official by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) as unless a score is shot at a world-level or continental competition, it is not considered official.
Nonetheless, the Gujarat shooter is happy with her match. “I didn’t think too much about the scores, I wanted to shoot well. I am glad I did well to win the first place,” Elavenil, who is a part of Gagan Narang’s Gun For Glory academy’s Project Leap, said.
Having started shooting only three years ago, Elavenil had to slow down considering she had to appear for the standard 12 boards exam. “I had opted for science in 12th and couldn’t spend time on shooting. The only time I had was early in the morning, so I used to get up at 4 am and start training at 5.30 am. But now the boards exam are over and I am focusing on getting a place in the Indian senior team,” Elavenil, who made it to the India juniors squad this year, told TOI from Ahmedabad.