Anjali Bhagwat (born on 5th December 1969 in a Marathi Daivajna family) is a rifle shooter from India. In the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, she won four golds in the individual and pairs events of Air rifle and Smallbore Rifle (Three positions). She was awarded the Arjuna award in 2000 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna jointly with Beenamol for 2002–2003. She represented India at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics, though she couldn’t win a medal.
In a sport like shooting, which is traditionally considered the fiefdom of men, Anjali Vedpathak-Bhagwat’s emergence as an ace shooter has been like a whiff of fresh air. Fondly known as ‘Arjuna of India’ and ‘Indian shooting queen’, Anjali has inspired a horde of young women to take up the sport of shooting. Her first brush with shooting occurred during her stint as a cadet in the National Cadet Corps (NCC). She has received the most prestigious award conferred by the Government of India for excellence in sports – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – in 2002.
Anjali Bhagwat is the first woman in the shooting sport, who has become an inspiration for the youngsters to take up the game as their profession. She has taken strenuous efforts in order to gain recognition in the shooting world. In 1990, under the guidance of Sanjay Chakravarthy, Anjali clinched her maiden national title and since then there has been no looking back. Her first taste to glory with her country 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 Air Rifle (Team) event and both silver and gold medals in Sports 3p event. Bhagwat’s remarkable performance at the event is fresh in the minds of the sports enthusiasts.
Bhagwat created a new record in her career at the 1999 SAF games held in Nepal, by winning four gold medals in Air Rifle (Team) and Sports 3p event. She kept on creating new records thereafter. In the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Bhagwat competed as a last-minute wildcard, when she put up a spirited effort to become only the second Indian woman to reach an Olympic final and secured a creditable seventh position. At the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, Bhagwat was bestowed with four gold medals at the 10 meter Air Rifle and 50 meter Rifle 3-position events. Apart from the prestigious sport award, she has bagged Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Award, Maharashtra Gaurav and Maharashtra Pratishtha Award in 1993.
At the 2003 Afro Asian Games, Anjali Bhagwat created history, by becoming the first Indian woman shooter to grab a gold and a silver medal in the Sports 3p and Air Rifle events, respectively. In the following year at the Athens Olympic Games, she performed well, though she managed just to finish at the 8th position. For her excellent performance, Bhagwat has managed to secure third consecutive Olympic quota for Beijing Olympics 2008, after acquiring the fourth position at the Brazil World Cup 2006. According to the latest records, Anjali Bhagwat has won as many as 28 Gold, 22 Silver, 6 Bronze medals, thus setting new records in International competitions. As far as the national competitions are concerned, she has managed to win 54 Gold, 35 Silver and 14 Bronze medals.
- Arjuna award in 2000
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2002
- Won four gold medals at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games