Meet Anjali Bhagwat
Anjali Bhagwat is one of the greatest Indian Athletes, winning over 50 International medals for the country. Fondly known as the "Indian Shooting Queen", Anjali has been honoured with many awards including India’s highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the prestigious Arjuna Award. She is the first Indian shooter to be ranked World No.1 in the 10m Air Rifle event.
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. Her tally of 55 Gold, 35 Silver and 16
Bronze medals in domestic competitions is unbeaten.
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. As a part of her
curriculum, she had to enrol in rifle shooting at Maharashtra Rifle Association (MRA).
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
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. She considers her rival Galkina Lioubov (Russia) as a formidable competitor. 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 also won her first World Cup Final in Milan in 2003 with a score of 399/400.
In December 2000, Anjali married Mumbai-based businessman Mandar Bhagwat. In 2006, she shifted her base from Mumbai to Pune due to the city’s better sporting facilities. 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. And the Indian shooting queen has inspired a horde of young women to take up the sport.