Shooting stars: We could make a wish for winning at Tokyo

Mumbai: It all started with Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore winning India’s first shooting medal at Athens 2004. Shooting has since been India’s go-to sport for medals at the Olympic Games.

The trend continued with Beijing 2008 gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar getting us our medal from London in 2012. Alas! Not everything lasts forever. The Rio Games proved to be a bad outing for the Indian shooters as they cut a sorry figure.

But bringing the silver lining, the recent upstarts have changed the face of Indian shooting. And leading them from the front are names of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary. This duo has given a new horizon to the Indian shooting as they make a potent concoction of accuracy, concentration, confidence and calm.

Not to forget, there is a lot of difference in the chemistry of these two. Manu Bhaker is the daughter of a merchant navy engineer from Haryana’s Jhajjar district. Right from an early age, she was drawn towards sports and took to boxing, tennis and skating in her school days, while also representing her state in a few tournaments through these sports. But it was shooting that Bhaker took up professionally, and her family wholeheartedly supported this new endeavour and provided the youngster with the best of facilities and training.

Saurabh Chaudhary, on the other hand, son of a farmer from Uttar Pradesh, took up competitive shooting just four years ago.

They come from different backgrounds, have different initiations to the sport of shooting and have contrasting personalities.

But despite the differences, their combination has helped India scale new heights for mixed team pistol shooting in the recent past.

Bhaker and Chaudhary barely converse with each other while on the shooting range, but still motivate and get the best out of each other. Bhaker’s charismatic personality helps keep the confidence level up for the pair, while Chaudhary’s pragmatic and composed approach ensures that they always stay grounded. These pole-apart characteristics make these two teenagers a potent force for mixed team pistol events that could result in a supernova.

Hence, victory from this stellar collision may be just an event away.

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