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Home News Silver medallist birthday girl takes centre stage despite China’s double gold

Silver medallist birthday girl takes centre stage despite China’s double gold

Summer Games 2 August 2023

It’s not often that you see a FISU World University Games silver medallist constantly on her phone or staying up late and sleeping for just two or three hours on her match day due to the number of messages and calls.

This was the case for India’s Elavenil Valarivan in Chengdu. Wednesday was her 24th birthday and her first one while competing in a shooting event outside her country.

Elavenil Valarivan & Divyansh Panwar (India) in 10m air rifle mixed team

“Why are you calling me now? I’m at the University Games in China. I just finished my competition,” she can be heard telling her friends on the phone in her native language, Tamil, after claiming silver in the 10m air rifle mixed team event.

Valarivan had already captured gold earlier in the FISU Games in the women’s 10m air rifle event.

To celebrate her two medals, she plans on eating food she had to avoid during the preparation for Chengdu.

“I want to try the street food here, so I might go with our shooting contingent to try it out,” she said.

Though disappointed with the 17-13 loss against China in the final, the student from Gujarat University is happy that she has upgraded her medal coloursZhang Qi and Hu Kai, gold in 10m mixed team air pistolZhang Qi and Hu Kai, gold in 10m mixed team air pistol from her first FISU Games appearance in 2019 in Napoli, where she claimed silver and bronze in the women’s individual and team 10m air rifle events, respectively.

Zhang Qi and Hu Kai, gold in 10m mixed team air pistol

An overwhelmed ‘Ela’ as they call her in Chengdu, was seen thanking the crowd, who sang Happy Birthday after the medal ceremony. In addition, she also received a panda key chain as a present from the FISU Games organising committee.

Having competed with her mixed team partner Divyansh Panwar for more than six years in various junior events, their camaraderie is quite evident with their bickering on and off the shooting range.

“We created a new record today of shooting 10.9 simultaneously. Our previous best was a 10.8 at the same time,” she said.

It still was not enough for gold.

Song Buhan and Zhang Yu came up strong in their final shots with 10.7s and 10.8s, which created a festive atmosphere in the crowd.

Zhang, who won bronze in the individual event, had to be told to ease her nerves by her coach, who took a timeout at a crucial moment in the competition. Thanks to a pink colour earphone case by her side covered with sticker notes, the 23-year-old champion reminds herself to calm down.

“The note says ‘focus on your skill and yourself’,” said the Fudan University student.

Praising her partner Song, who was as cool as a cucumber, Zhang said: “In comparison, he was very calm. That gradually helped me calm down.”

In the other final held on the final day of shooting competition in Chengdu, China also dominated the 10m air pistol mixed team event.

Zhang Qi and Hu Kai defeated Czech twins Veronika and Pavel Schejbalova 16-12.

Over five days of shooting competition, the Indian contingent secured the most gold medals with eight, while China claimed the most medals with 15, one more than India.

Written by Netra. V, FISU Young Reporter