HYDERABAD:Shooters in India have been some of the more successful sportsmen, winning as many as four Olympic medals. But there is one event—skeet shooting—where shooters are yet to make a mark.
Mairaj Ahmed Khan, till very recently, used to be India’s best bet at any international event. In 2016, he won a silver medal in the ISSF World Cup in Rio, and qualified for the Olympics too. But now, there is Hyderabad’s Rashmmi Rathore, who is rising up the ranks.
Just a fortnight ago, the 34-year-old won her first international medal—a gold at the 7th Asian Shotgun Championships, Astana, in the mixed team event along with Mairaj. Having tasted success in Asia, she has set her sight on the world championship starting from August 30 in Moscow, Russia.
“It’s a great feeling to win an international medal. It was my first medal at such a big event. So my confidence is really high and I am now targeting a world championship medal. I think winning a medal at a world championship depends solely on how you feel on a particular day. So I hope that I can bring some laurels to the country,” Rashmmi told Express.
In a bid to improve her performances at international events, Rashmmi is now training with the renowned sports physiologist Vaibhav Aghase, who has worked with shooters like Gagan Narang in the past.
“I was a successful national level shooter, but wasn’t able to perform internationally. I didn’t know where I was going wrong. It was then I met physiologist Vaibhav. His advice changed things for good. At least my medal shows that. I think being mentally strong is key to doing well internationally, and that’s happening now.”
Rashmmi has seen her share of struggle, and is still continuing to face them. Apart from the obvious financial crunch, she was struck by a personal tragedy just before the Asian championship, but somehow she managed to perform well. Having endured so many hardships, the army brat is not willing to give up. “A few weeks before the championship, I lost my father. He was why I started shooting. He wasn’t alive to see me win my first international medal.
“I thought things would change after my gold and I would get financial assistance, but that hasn’t happened. Without support, I have to spend money from my own pocket. Because of this, shooters like me end up shooting less than half the number of rounds, an international shooter should shoot. But I don’t want to use this as an excuse,” she said.