Shooter Anjum Moudgil feels unsafe in India, to train in Croatia amid COVID-19 crisis

Tokyo Olympics: India's 13-member shooting squad arrived in Osijek from Zagreb to shoot in the MQS section of the European Championships.
Tokyo Olympics: India's 13-member shooting squad arrived in Osijek from Zagreb to shoot in the MQS section of the European Championships.

Shooter Anjum Moudgil feels unsafe in India, to train in Croatia amid COVID-19 crisis – Olympic-bound rifle shooter Anjum Moudgil does not mind being away from home till the end of the Tokyo Games as she feels training in Croatia will be safer than in a coronavirus-ravaged India.

The Olympic-bound 15-member Indian team will depart for Zagreb on May 11 for a training-cum-competition tour in that country and from there it will directly fly to Tokyo for the Olympics, which opens on July 23.

In Croatia, the shooters will take part in the European Championships in Osijek (May 20 to June 6) and the combined ISSF World Cup (June 22 to July 3) in the same city.

“It is not all right for us to train here in India. I don”t have a private training range for 50m rifle three positions. I have to either travel to Delhi or Pune which is not safe under this pandemic conditions,” she said at a virtual press conference arranged by the Sports Authority of India.

“I think Croatia must be better than India currently (in terms of COVID-19 situation) and being with the team also gives you confidence. I don”t see any problem from being away from home for three months.”

She said the Indian team will undergo a seven-day quarantine after reaching Croatia. They will fly to Tokyo on July 17.

“SAI has arranged a chartered flight for us and making a sort of bio-bubble also there in Croatia,” said the 25-year-old from Chandigarh.

Moudgil was picked in the Indian team for the 50m rifle three positions and 10m air rifle mixed team but missed out on 10m air rifle in which she won a silver in the 2018 World Championships.

She said she has taken it in her stride. Moudgil won a gold in 50m rifle 3 positions in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“I respect the decision of NRAI. I still have two events in the Olympics. I am ready for the 50m 3 positions.

“I will spend more time on 50m 3 positions now and cut down on 10m air rifle. My coach has made the changes in training time.”

On the mixed team event with Deepak Kumar, she said, “I will have 30 shots in 30 minutes and then he will have the same. After that their will be rankings of the teams. In the finals, there will be 20 shots each in 20 minutes.

“The first two in the rankings will go for the gold medal round where we will get one shot each and so on.”

She said training as a team, after the long coronavirus-forced break, gives more confidence to the shooters and builds positive environment.

A Masters degree holder in Sports Psychology, Moudgil said there is more pressure in the Olympics, though competition is equally tough in events like the World Championships.

“I don”t want to be under pressure thinking that I am going for Olympics. I will go there with a mindset that I am competing in an event like World Cup or World Championships. I will go with the flow.

“I have worked on my mental aspect also. I have spoken to senior shooters also.”

Moudgil has received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and she urged people to do the same.

“I took the first shot on March 31 which was arranged by Punjab police. I had my second dose on Thursday arranged by the NRAI.

“Everything was safely done. I would want to encourage people to vaccinate. I have been working on social media to help COVID-19 affected people like donation etc.”

Moudgil loves to do painting if she is not shooting, and several members of the Indian contingent are wearing face masks, which she has customised with her brush.

“I got plenty of orders (for face masks) and I have given them to coaches and players. I have painted more than 50 masks,” she said.

“I think I can connect my painting with my calmness. I am a person with a straight face who can control emotions,” she said when asked about her calm demeanour.