Anish Bhanwala made history on Friday, 24 November, when he clambered onto the podium for a bronze medal at the World Cup finals in Doha. On his way to the medal, Bhanwala shot his worst score at the competition, but walked away with a third-place finish. This was thanks to a weak performance from Czech Republic’s Matej Rampula.
However, despite the unimpressive score (23 out of a possible 30), this marks India’s first medal in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event at an ISSF World Cup final. Reflecting on his podium finish in Doha, Anish seemed more excited about his improvements as a shooter rather than the medal.
“I have a lot of respect for the medal that I won at the World Cup finals but even if I didn’t win, I wouldn’t have been disappointed because I could see myself improving. I don’t overreact on winning or losing. I’m not just expecting to win. My hunger is to improve,” the shooter told Sportstar in an interview.
His unexpected win at the World Cup final was a surprise to many. But Anish believes that it’s the well wishes of the athletes he helped at a felicitation ceremony for India’s Asian Games triumph that boosted him.
“Normally, the done thing is to be awarded something but this time my family and I decided to distribute track suits and kits to some 750 athletes from different sports who were from around my village. I think it’s their good wishes that gave me a bit of luck.”
Anish Bhanwala on training under Ralf Schumann
Anish Bhanwala first met three-time Olympic champion Ralf Schumann at a camp that was held in New Delhi. He realized that he needed the 61-year-old in his corner if he wanted to make it big at the Olympics. Eventually, Bhanwala tracked down Schumann in 2021 and asked the Olympic legend for guidance.
“I also knew that if I had to raise my own game, I had to train with him. So, one day in 2021, when I was in Germany for testing my ammunition, I called him up, set up a meeting at his home and told him, ‘Sir, I want you to prepare me for Paris.”
Schumann agreed and has been coaching the Indian for the last year-and-a-half, with stunning results. Anish won his first World Cup medal earlier this year and followed it up with a near career-high of 588 at the Asian Championships.
“Schumann sir has some 30 years of experience and he’s sharing that with me. A coach like him is like a mentor. Apart from working on my technique, he has helped me bring discipline to my life with respect to my shooting. I am training in such a way that there isn’t any difference between a regular training day and an actual match,” the shooter said.
As of now, Anish Bhanwala is spending about 70 days a year with his coach in Suhl, hoping to perfect his art ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.