Elavenil Valarivan has always been a girl of high ambition. From the day she first held a rifle, at just 13, she had strived to give nothing less than 100 per cent. The sense of purpose in her life, backed with a willingness to work for it was a strong indicator that she would go long way.On Thursday at the ongoing ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney, the 18-year-old showed why she is thought of as one of Indian shooting’s brightest prospects. First, she shot down a world junior record score of 631.4 in the qualifiers. In the final, she shot 249.8, 1.1 points more than her nearest challenger Chinese Taipei’s Ying-Shin Lin, to take gold. It was the latest milestone in a journey that has, at times, been arduous.
“She was introduced to the sport by her cousin,” said Elavenil’s mother Saroja. “Since the day she started shooting, she would start her day at 5 am, travel around 80 kilometres every day and return home at 8 pm. She gave her best in everything.”Elavenil’s big break came when she was selected for Project Leap, an initiative of Gagan Narang’s Gun for Glory academy, in 2017. She had first came to the academy’s notice after a talent hunt in 2014.
“Ever since Elavenil was selected in 2014, she has been surprising me with her talent and skills,” said Neha Chavan, who is her coach at the academy. While it has certainly been the highest point of her brief career so far, the Junior World Cup gold is far from the first time she had put the shooting fraternity on notice. A couple of weeks ago, at the 2018 FISU World University Shooting Sport Championship held in Malaysia, she shot a score of 226.5 to clinch the 10m Air Rifle bronze.
Then, in the women’s team event, she partnered with Trisha Mukherjee and Meghana Mallikarjun Sajjanar to win gold. “She is in good form now as she won a medal last week also and I hope she continues this form,” Chavan said.Talking to Express from Sydney, Elavenil sounded excited. “I am really happy with the win. Neha madam has been training me for more than 3 years and her support is tremendous.”