Nowadays, teenagers define themselves by their social media account, rather than their achievements. If one doesn’t have a Facebook Account at the age of 15, then he/she is not qualified as a modern teenager and is often bullied about it. But there are few for whom other myriad things seem more important than to the number of followers on Instagram they have. One such fellow teenager is Anish Bhanwala, the 15-year-old boy who broke the record set by Abhinav Bindra almost two decades ago.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement”
The early life of the record breaker
Anish Bhanwala born on 26th of September, 2002 in the Sonipat district of Haryana is a 15-year-old Indian shooter who competes in 25-meter rapid fire pistol, 25-meter pistol and 25-meter standard pistol events. He currently resides in Karnal which also falls in the state of Haryana and completing his studies from St. Theresa's Convent Sr. Sec. School.
The start of his luminous career
Anish was always into sports, the courtesy of which he gives to his elder sister.
As a kid, he used to participate a lot in those modern pentathlon events. They used to comprise of epée fencing, pistol shooting, 200-meter freestyle swimming, show jumping on horseback and 3 km cross country running (which will be replaced by track event in 2020). He has represented the country at U-12 modern pentathlon World Championships in 2013 and Asian modern pentathlon Championships in 2015, which had given him great success.
But, pistol shooting was the sport which he loved the most of these five. One day he decided to concentrate solely on pistol shooting and leave the other four. It was a tough move as he was one of India’s brightest pentathlon stars, but his parents supported him in this. His father borrowed a pistol for him to shoot at a range in SBS Senior Secondary School, Karnal for his practice. He moved to Delhi in 2014 to have the best facilities and training.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”
The beginning of his pistol shooting career
As soon as he started training under a professional coach, Anish became confident of his decision with rapid improvement in his skills.
Anish stormed into the scene with an almost perfect season in 2017. At the Junior World Shooting championship in Shul, he won two golds, two silvers and a bronze medal. He created a new world record en-route to clinching the 25-meter standard pistol gold.
At the Commonwealth Shooting championship held at Brisbane in December last year, Anish underlined his prowess yet again and bagged the silver in men’s rapid fire pistol.
In 1998, 15-year-old Abhinav Bindra (at that time) was the youngest Indian to participate in the Commonwealth Games. Two decades later, 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala became the youngest Indian to win gold for India at the Commonwealth Games, both improving and shattering the record. He won the 25m rapid fire pistol event, breaking the Games record in the process. The Haryana boy shot down the CWG record in the final with a score of 30 including four series of 5 each. The youngest in the field, he showed nerves of steel and led the more experienced shooters through the event to emerged as a deserving champion.
And he is not the only one from his family to represent the contingent. Anish’s sister Muskan Bhanwala is also part of the Indian shooting contingent. Both of them train under national head coach Jaspal Rana.
But he wasn’t just a commonwealth gold medalist at that time
Anish was busy participating in shooting events and competing with men almost double his age, meanwhile, his CBSE exams were waiting at the door. He arrived from his maiden ISSF World Cup in Mexico at the dead of night and sat for class X Board paper at the crack of dawn next day. That was his determination towards everything.
“Failure will never overtake you; if your determination to succeed is strong enough”
Anish has set an example for his fellow national and international competitors. All teenagers should be looking up to him, to what he has achieved along with focusing on his board exams. He had the lack of experience when he was competing with men almost twice his age. But he never lost his nerve; he went on with all that he knew. And the results speak! So rather than being scared of the circumstances, we should keep on moving towards the goal with all our learnings and capabilities.