Shooting: Anish becomes India's youngest-ever gold medalist

ESPN staff3 Minute Read
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15-year-old Anish Bhanwala became India's youngest gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games after shooting 30 points -- a Commonwealth Games record -- in the 25m Rapid Fire final. Adding to the tally, Tejaswini Sawant and Anjum Moudgil completed a formidable 1-2 in the women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions as they won the gold and silver medal respectively at the ongoing Commonwealth Games on Friday.

Going into the final, Anish sat comfortably on top of the table in the qualification round, scoring 580 points. His compatriot Neeraj Kumar finished second with 579 points. As the first stage of the final began, Anish continued with the momentum that he had earlier, leading comfortably at 13 points, four points ahead of Australia's David Chapman, who held the second position after 15 shots.

In the eliminators, as Anish continued to lead by four points, ahead of Australia's Sergei Evglevski, Neeraj slipped, failing to maintain his nerves in a shoot-off to stay alive in the competition, to finish fifth with 13 points. With the last three eliminators to go, Evglevski took his game a notch higher, scoring a 5/5 to bridge the gap between him and the Indian to just two points. The cat-and-mouse chase continued as Anish -- with 25 points -- held on to a one-point lead against the Australian in the final eliminator. Anish hit the next five shots on target to go to 30 points, making it impossible for Evglevski to take the gold.

Anish hails from Kashandi, Haryana and is coached by former CWG gold medalist Jaspal Rana. His elder sister Muskan is also a national-level shooter.

The 15-year-old had previously won gold in the 25m standard pistol event at the junior World Championships last year, where he set a new junior World Record in the qualification stage. He had also represented India at the modern pentathlon junior World Championships in 2013. Anish looks up to Vijay Kumar, who won silver for India in the same event in the London Olympics in 2012 and counts three-time Olympic Gold-medalist Ralf Schumann among his biggest influences.

Tejaswini, Anjum complete 1-2 in 50m rifle 3 positions

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Tejaswini, who had won a silver in the 50m Rifle Prone on Thursday, shot a total of 457.9 to set a new Commonwealth Games record and finish on top of the table. Compatriot Anjum, giving a tough competition to Tejaswini, shot a 544.7 to finish second.

Coached by Kuheli Gangulee, Tejaswini took up the sport upon persuasion by her mother Sunita. She had won silver in the same event in 2006. With this medal, the 37-year-old further increased her Commonwealth Games medal tally to seven -- having previously won two golds, two silvers and two bronze medals since 2006.

The Kolhapur-born gold medalist, who trains in Pune, had earlier equalled the world record (EWR) after winning gold in the Munich World Championships in 2010 in the 50m rifle prone. She had also won bronze in the 50m rifle 3 postions in the ISSF World Cup held in Munich in 2009.

Anjum, who had won a silver at the ISSF shooting World Cup in Mexico last month, failed to qualify for the final of the 50m prone event. The 24-year-old is an inspector in the Punjab Police and is coached by former Olympian Deepali Deshpande. Her mother was a university-level shooter and she was introduced to the sport by her.

In the qualification round, while Anjum set a qualification record at the Commonwealth Games, shooting a 589 to finish first, Tejaswini finished third with a score of 582.