Some of India’s biggest shooters may not have been part of the recently concluded ISSF World Cup at Mexico’s Guadalajara, but India still ended the first stage of the ISSF World Cup Series on top of the standings after winning nine medals, four of them gold.
Shooters like Shahzar Rizvi, Mehuli Ghosh and Manu Bhaker made headlines at the Mexico event by establishing themselves as promising shooters for the future.
India’s final gold medal came in the men’s 50m rifle 3position event on Sunday, courtesy 23-year-old Akhil Sheoran, who remarkably had missed the cut for Rio Olympics by 1.2 points in 2016.
Hailing from a tiny village in Baraut (Uttar Pradesh), Sheoran is the son of a farmer while his mother is a housewife, according to a report in The New Indian Express. Even as he has made it clear that shooting is his first priority, he is pursuing an MBA in international business from Jamia Milia University.
“I chose this course as I wanted to pursue this field once I end my shooting career. When I am away from shooting, studying acts as a tool of focus for me and when I return to shooting, I am mentally fresh and sharp,” he told The Indian Express.
Like many other shooters, Sheoran’s first exposure to the sport of shooting happened when Abhinav Bindra won India’s first ever, and still only, individual gold medal at the Beijing Olympics 10 years ago, according to a report in The Indian Express.
That epoch-making medal made Sheoran enroll in a shooting course at his school in Meerut. But soon, his dedication to the sport took him to the national capital.
Slowly, but steadily, he made his mark in the sport, winning a bronze medal at the 2012 Asian Air Gun Championships in Nanchang. It took him another three years to win another medal at the junior stage — this time a silver medal at the Suhl Junior World Cup. 2015 also saw him win another silver medal in 10m air rifle junior event at Asian Shooting Championships in Kuwait.
Despite the calibre he has shown with this medal at the World Cup in Mexico, he will not be a part of the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast. He missed the cut for the Indian team after finishing third in the national trials behind Sanjeev Rajput and Chain Singh in the 50m rifle 3 position event and fourth in 10m air rifle category.
However, the youngster believes the gold at Guadalajara is a sign that things are finally looking up for him.
“Score-wise I was doing well, but I wasn’t getting satisfaction in terms of my overall shooting. I started with air rifle but used to shoot three position too, but then despite being in the junior and then the senior teams, nothing was clicking for me,” Sheoran told The Times of India after his medal at Mexico.
“After the Rio miss, I was getting a little impatient and wanted things to fall in place. I then sat with my coach Deepali Deshpande and we decided to start from the basic all over again. I think it worked,” he added.
Having endured the heartbreak of missing out on a berth for Rio by 1.2 points, the 23-year-old will hope lady luck has a Olympics debut at Tokyo in mind for him.
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Updated Date: Mar 12, 2018 21:14:26 IST