The 19-year-old competed in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event.

A little over three years ago, shooter Divyansh Singh Panwar was an unknown name. That until, the shooter from Jaipur, Rajasthan, received an opportunity to compete at the first edition of the Khelo India School Games in 2018 in New Delhi, where he caught the eyes in the 10m Air Rifle category.

“It was the start of my journey to Tokyo,” the Olympian Divyansh said at the SAI Shooting Range, on Friday.

In 2019, Diyansh Panwar went on to win the Gold medal in the 2019 ISSF World Cup in Putian in 10m Air Rifle, followed by a Silver medal in the same category in the 2019 Beijing World Cup. The shooter from Jaipur, Rajasthan, also won a Gold medal in Mixed Team 10m Air Rifle category in the ISSF World Cups in Beijing, Munich, and Putian, in 2019. The same year, he earned a quota berth for the Tokyo Olympics and was included in the 16-member strong Indian shooting contingent at the Games.

“Before appearing at the Khelo India School Games, I had not competed in any major tournaments and had not won any big medals. I was a very unknown player at the time. But it opened up doors for me to reach this level. You have to pick up small victories in life. Only then you can reach the top level,” Divyansh said.

This year, Divyansh decided once again to appear at the Khelo India University Games, representing Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. But this time, he was not competing in the 10m Air Rifle event, in which he competed at the Tokyo Olympics. The 19-year-old shooter explained why he decided to switch to 50m Rifle 3 Positions.

“I decided to participate at the Khelo India University Games 2021 because my journey in 10m Air Rifle shooting also started at the first-ever Khelo India Youth Games. I have recently started competing in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event, and I wanted to start this journey once again at Khelo India. So, if I get a chance to go to the Olympics in this category, I want my journey to start once again from here,” he said.

“Several seniors and coaches have told me that if I start competing in 50m Rifle 3 Positions, it will also help me in 10m Air Rifle. I, obviously, want to keep my main focus on the 10m Air Rifle category, but I am ready to do anything which may help me in that event, so, I decided to start doing 50m Rifle 3 Positions as well. Both these events really support each other,” he further added.

While Divyansh could not reach the final, finishing with a score of 566 in the Qualification Round of 50m Rifle 3 Positions event, he is hopeful that his presence at the KIUG 2021 will motivate young athletes from different parts of the country.

“When I was young, I also came from a small family, with big dreams. I idolised a lot of athletes, looked up to them, and took inspiration from them. I took inspiration from Apurvi Chandela – I really admired her patience, technique, and how she keeps herself calm at all times. I hope I can do the same for others,” he said.

Divyansh also opened up on how the Khelo India scheme is giving a platform for young talent in remote parts of the country to make a name for themselves in the sporting world.

“Khelo India Games has become the main platform for athletes to make a name for themselves. Athletes coming from remote regions with little to no means can also get an opportunity to perform here and get highlighted. This tournament can open doors for anyone, which they never even thought were possible at one stage, just how it happened for me,” he said.

“Athletes from every sport and every discipline are bound to come out from Khelo India University Games or Khelo India Youth Games,” Divyansh added.

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