CHENNAI:With two bronze medals at the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mehuli Ghosh has emerged as a new star on the Indian shooting horizon. At 17, this marks her out as one to watch out for. Even though she is still in her teens, the Bengal shooter has already seen ups and downs in life. On a high now, she experienced the low early in her career, when she was suspended from her shooting school. It was 2014 and a pellet from her gun accidentally injured an onlooker. It stirred her so much that she stopped going there.
“She went into depression and thought the incident would remain as a scar on her shooting career. It took her a few months to get back to normal with the help of a psychiatrist,” said Mithali Ghosh, Mehuli’s mother. Luckily for Mehuli and her parents, she found a new school.With the help of relatives they found Olympian Joydeep Karmakar’s academy, where Mehuli enrolled herself in 2015. “It was traumatic for her and we had to seek professional help to get her back to normal,” said Karmakar.
A shooter who first made her mark at the West Bengal state junior championship with two silver medals in 2014, Mehuli had to beat financial hurdles too. But her family stood by her. “We are financially not that strong. To let Mehuli follow her dream, we had to take loans to cover her expenses. The rifles were gifted by her grandparents,” said her mother.
It was after joining Karmakar’s academy in Kolkata that Mehuli started living up to promise. She came seventh in an international junior championship in Czech Republic last May. The turning point came a couple of months ago at the national championship, where she clinched nine medals (2 gold, 7 silver). Hailing from Baidyabati, a small town about 30 kms away from Kolkata, she has been travelling four hours every day for the last three years to go to Karmakar’s academy. “Despite travelling for so long, she didn’t miss a single practice session,” said Karmakar.
In her first international outing in Guadalajara, the shooter who is supported by Olympic Gold Quest finished third in women’s 10m air rifle and then paired up with Deepak Kumar in the mixed team event for her second bronze. Karmakar added that his ward has a long way to go. “The important thing for any sportsperson is consistency. Mehuli is on a double-edged sword now. She has to be more responsible and more focussed. I am happy for what she has done, but she has to work harder,” he said.
Talented no doubt, Mehuli is learning what it takes to become a success. Having battled adversities early on in life, she should not be caught wanting on mental strength — an essential requisite for success in shooting.