OLYMPIAN & FORMER WORLD NO.1 IN RIFLE SHOOTING ( KHEL RATNA & ARJUNA AWARDEE )
This Indian shooting queen has inspired a horde of young women to take up the sport.In a sport like shooting, which is traditionally considered the fiefdom of men, Anjali Bhagwat’s emergence as an ace shooter has been like a whiff of fresh air. Known as the ‘Arjuna of India’, Anjali Mandar Bhagwat is a professional Indian rifle shooter. The former world number one is considered to be the greatest Indian sportswoman of all times. She has won over 60 international medals for India and is one of the few Indians to represent the country in three consecutive Olympics.
India’s most shining shooting star was born in 1969 in Mumbai to Marathi parents. A student of Judo and Karate, Anjali was always interested in joining the National Cadet Corps (NCC). She joined Kirti College in Mumbai mainly due to its NCC credential.
Within seven days of holding a gun, Anjali had to participate in the National Championship as there were no women rifle shooters to represent MRA. To everyone’s surprise, Anjali won silver medal for Maharashtra in the same tournament.
The ace shooter, under the guidance of Sanjay Chakravarthy, clinched her maiden national title and since then there has been no looking back. Her first international glory came in 1995 when India performed fairly well at the SAF games in Madras (the present day Chennai). During the event, India bagged bronze medal in the air rifle (team) event and both silver and gold medals in sports 3p event. She is the only woman to have won the World Cup for India. At the 2003 Afro Asian Games, Anjali Bhagwat created history by becoming the first Indian woman shooter to grab gold and a silver medal in the sports 3p and air rifle events respectively. She became the World Number One in 10m air rifle in 2002.
Anjali Bhagwat is currently coaching six shooters in Pune. She has been on the government selection panel for some of the top sports awards, both on the state and the national level, such as Shiv Chhatrapati Award, Arjuna Award and Dronacharaya Award.
Apart from this, she has done a guest appearance role in the Marathi movie Bokya Satbande. She has also walked the ramp twice for famous fashion designer Vikram Phadnis. She has also been teaching a few blind students.