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Home > City Resources > Sports & Recreation > Personalities

 Anjali Vedpathak  

Anjali Vedpathak - has caught every eye with her spirited performance at the Sydney Olympics

Anjali VedpathakThe spirited performance of air-rifle shooter Anjali Vedpathak at the Sydney Olympics has flashed twin signals to us - that Indians have the potential to succeed in the international arena, but also that our progress is bound to be arrested due to lack of proper infrastructure. Time and again Indian athletes have had to contend with the plethora of evils synonymous with our sports, enroute to individual glory.

Indian sports is plagued by bureaucratic hassles, and the rigidity of administrators, corrupted by the power of the offices they hold. It is pathetic that Anjali was also a victim of a lopsided policy of sports administrators. Anjali, who was the gold medalist at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth games, should have been the automatic choice for the air-rifle shooting competition at the Sydney Olympics. However, Anjali's entry into the competition was withheld (for reasons best known to Indian sports officials), and it was only at the last minute that she was informed of her inclusion in the team for Sydney. This inordinate delay robbed her off the precious time that she could have utilised to prepare herself psychologically for the competition.

Anjali Vedpathak takes aimKudos to Anjali, the 30-year-old Central Industrial Security Force sub-inspector from Mumbai, who delivered a spirited performance by becoming the first Indian woman to qualify for the eight-person final in the air-rifle shooting competition at Sydney. Her overall standing, in a field comprising 49 women, was laudable. She maintained a consistently high standard, by raking up scores of 98, 100, 97, and 99 to finish 7th in the qualifying round with a joint third-high aggregate of 394, only 3 points short of top-finisher Kang Cho-Hyun of Korea. In the final round, she tallied 493.1 out of a possible 500 points, to secure the 8th position. The gold medal winning effort of Nancy Johnson who scored 497.7 out of 500 was only 4.6 points better than Anjali's effort..

Anjali VedpathakAnjali aired her views to the media after the end of the final round : “I was nervous initially and then gained in confidence as the competition progressed. I think I can do much better if the infrastructure at home improves.” She also added, “I was quite consistent but of course the pressure and the lights -which I could not adjust to -added to my discomfiture.”

Anjali has already set her sights on the next Olympics at Athens. Anjali was helped by the Hinduja foundation for her trip to Sydney. She had practiced diligently under the watchful eyes of coach Laszla Szucsuk. Her family kept track of her progress at the Olympics through the internet as Doordarshan's Sports channel was unavailable.

Anjali Vedpathak has shown that Indian sportspersons can rub shoulders with the best in the world. Mumbaibest wishes her luck in all her future endeavours.

Click here for an Interview with Anjali Vedpathak

Author's Name : Wasim Siddiqui
Photographer's Name : Uma Kadam


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