Commonwealth Games 2018: Rapid fire child’s play for schoolboy Anish Bhanwala

AS Anish Bhanwala walks around the Games Village, he resembles a student on a study trip. The baby fat is still visible, his smile is boyish and he likes chocolates.

Published: 14th April 2018 01:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2018 10:18 AM   |  A+A-

15-year-old Indian shooter Anish Bhanwala. | PTI

Express News Service

GOLD COAST: As Anish Bhanwala walks around the Games Village, he resembles a student on a study trip. The baby fat is still visible, his smile is boyish and he likes chocolates. But there is a difference too. He has a quiet demeanour and has the ability to concentrate like a hermit. There’s no obsessive indulgence in social media.

At 15, when most boys are busy taking their board exams, Anish is representing India in sh­ooting. He is precoc­i­o­u­sly ta­l­ented and has a sound he­ad on his shoulders. At the B­e­lmont Shooting Centre on Friday, he won gold in the 25m r­a­pid fire and became the you­n­gest gold medallist at the Games.

In fact, Anish started shooting with a laser gun — a contraption that shoots compressed air while maintaining the spectacle of sound. His skills are already making waves. He never took time to get accustomed to the new gun.

Even the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) re­­laxed norms for Anish to ta­k­e­­ part here. He has taken t­w­o e­x­ams and will take three more o­n April 16, 17 and 18. However, st­udies are the last thing he has do­ne here. “I have to practice a­n­d there is no time to read,” he sa­ys. The school, federation a­n­­d ministry helped him in re­questing the CBSE to give hi­m a special window for exams.

“I had to reschedule the rem­a­ining exams because of CWG and the Junior World Champio­n­ships,” he says. He will return o­n April 15, take the exams bef­o­re flying for the World Cup in Ko­rea on April 19. He is litera­lly living life out of a suitcase.

Before this trip, Anish appeared in two exams — English and science. Maths, Hindi and social studies are still left. Not a great lover of maths, he beli­e­ves he will do well in other su­bjects. He harbours no tension either.

“Got a medal. I was more tensed by that,” he says. “The ma­tch was the real tension (la­u­ghs).”  His preparation for the remaining exams has hardly been ideal. There are a lot of distractions at the Games Village. “Somehow I am managing to study in the room. I have not touched maths, only social studies and hindi,” he says.

But then, he can be excused if he doesn’t do too well. How many at his age have won gold at the Commonwealth Games?

“I practice at the Dr Karni Singh shooting area in Delhi and travel from Karnal every day,” he says. Not a mean task. He stormed into the national camp last year with exceptional results in the junior circuit. So far, he has been able to replicate it in the senior level. Wh­e­n asked about his rapid rise, he says one year is a long ti­me. “Not a rapid growth. It’s been step by step. Since 2015, I ha­ve been doing well in rapid fire.”

However, national coach Jaspal Rana believes future succ­e­s­s depends on how these kids h­a­ndle fame and money. “It’s not easy if you get cash,” says Jaspal.

“There should be a policy where the money is put in such a way that it can be utilised properly. I can only control them when they are in the camp. Outside they are free.”

Results: Women’s 50m rifle 3 positions: Tejaswini Sawant gold, Anjum Moudgil silver. Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol: Anish gold, Neeraj Kumar 6th. Women’s trap: Shreyasi Singh 5th.

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