Shooting star @15, Anish youngest medal winner
Gold Coast: The story of a 15-year-old Anish Bhanwala becoming India's youngest gold medalist at the Commonwealth Games ought to have been a cause for a big celebration, but instead it got dwarfed by the "sending back" of two athletes for breaching the "No Needle Policy".
Apart from triple jumper, Rakesh Babu, who had qualified for the finals, and race walker, KT Irfan, who had finished 13th in his event, three officials, including the Chef-de-Mission, Vikram Singh Sisodia, and General Team Manager, Namdev Shirgaonker and the athletics team manager Ravinder Chaudhary, were deemed to have breached the "No Needle Policy" and were severely reprimanded in a statement read out by the CGF president, Louise Martin in the morning.
A syringe was found in Babu's bag after a member of the cleaning staff alerted the CGF officials about a syringe spotted in a cup in the apartment, where Babu and Irfan were staying. Both were asked to leave the Games Village immediately and their Games accreditation was suspended. The Indian team Management and the Indian Olympic Association meanwhile gave different versions of what the contingent plans to do next.
As Anish won India's 16th gold medal in 25m rapid fire pistol taking India past their Glasgow tally, the morning saw Tejaswini Sawant and Anjum Moudgil complete a gold-silver finish in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions.
An elated Anish said: "I'm very excited that I became the Commonwealth champion. I am the youngest athlete from India to win Commonwealth gold at 15. My next aim is the World championships (in South Korea) and Asian Games (in Indonesia)."
Anish's win also bettered teammate Manu Bhaker's record of being the youngest at 16. Earlier in the week, Manu became the youngest Indian Commonwealth Games gold medallist emerging champion in the 10m air rifle finals.
Going into the final, Anish was on top in the qualification round, scoring 580 points with teammate Neeraj Kumar second at 579 points. In the final Anish continued with the momentum.
In the eliminators, Anish continued to lead by four points over Australia's Sergei Evglevski, but Neeraj slipped. He exited finishing fifth. With the last three eliminators to go, Evglevski shot a 5/5 to bridge the gap between him and Anish to just two points and it become one as Anish had 25 points to the Australian's 24.
In the final eliminator, Anish found the next five targets to go to 30 points and made it impossible for Evglevski to overtake him for gold.
Anish hails from Kashandi, Haryana, and is coached by former CWG gold medalist Jaspal Rana, a multiple gold medallist at Commonwealth Games in the past.
Anish won gold in the 25m standard pistol event at the junior World Championships last year, where he set a new junior world record in the qualification stage. Anish, an admirer of 2012 Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar, maintains three-time Olympic Gold-medalist Ralf Schumann as one of his biggest influences.
Tejaswini Sawant shattered the Games record en route to winning the gold medal while Anjum Moudgil bagged silver in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions event. In a 1-2 finish for India, the 37-year-old Tejaswini shot a CWG record 457.9 in the event's final, while Moudgil aggregated 455.7 at the Belmont Shooting Centre. Scotland's Seonaid Mcintosh won bronze 444.6.