NEW DELHI: 2020 is going to be a crucial year for young Divyansh Singh Panwar. Not only because he has managed to secure a quota for the Tokyo Olympics but because he has his Class XII examinations prior to that.
It can get quite taxing, trying to juggle both. The 17-year-old, however, has his priorities set and is proceeding according to plan. “I practice for five hours during the day. In the evening, I concentrate on fitness and then study for two hours. I want to become a top shooter and that is my priority. I’m an average student and becoming a graduate is the basic level I want to reach. I have my father’s full support,” the 10m Air Rifle shooter told this daily. The student of Jaipur’s Maheshwari Public School studies free-of-cost and does not have to worry about attendance.
It was because of his father, a doctor at SMS Hospital in Jaipur, that Divyansh took up the sport even though he was not that inclined at first. “I was 12 when I started shooting. For the first five-six months, I felt like quitting and running away. My father always kept motivating me so I stayed put. It has not been a bad choice,” the youngster joked.
Not a bad choice is an understatement as he has already claimed silver at the Beijing World Cup along with India’s fourth Tokyo quota spot. Paired with Anjum Moudgil in the mixed team event at the World Cups, he won gold in Beijing, in Munich and bronze in Rio de Janeiro. These performances have secured him a spot in the Indian team for the ISSF World Cup Final in Putian, China.
“I have kept gaining in confidence with each event. Competing with top shooters around the world is a huge incentive and when I do well, my belief in my abilities keeps growing. The aim is to not keep focussing on Tokyo and just keep on improving my shooting.”
But pressure is something an athlete has to learn to live with and the same applies for Divyansh. He might try to keep thoughts of Tokyo from entering his mind, but his friends and relatives always end up mentioning it. “They cannot help it. Olympics is the biggest stage in an athlete’s career and they are desperate to see me win a medal there. To not get bogged down by these thoughts, I have started working on my mental strength along with my coach Deepak Kumar Dubey. I do yoga and meditation and it has helped me remain calm during crunch moments.”
The rifle shooter has another hidden talent: PUBG. The online multi-player game, often called a hindrance for kids, provides a bit of mental relief to the Jaipur boy. “I don’t understand why people complain. It helps me relax and I can have some fun as well. My coach and my father do complain that I sometimes overdo it though, so I end up hiding my phone sometimes!”