BENGALURU: Mahaniya Venkatesha loves gymnastics and got hooked into the sport when she was four. She has won some laurels too. But her love for sports does not end there as the city girl picked up the art of shooting last year. Her choice of both sports is intriguing as neither of them are too popular among kids. In fact, it was her mother Vinodhini who casually asked her if she wanted to try out other sports, besides gymnastics, and promptly came the answer – shooting.
In a short span, Venkatesha has been quite impressive. She won a gold medal in the pre-state in a 10-metre open sight air rifle shooting in Bengaluru recently. It was quite a surprising result, considering it was her first shooting tournament that witnessed massive participation. The grade 4 student of Greenwood High International School has, thus, qualified for a state-level shooting championship, which will be held at Karnataka State Rifle Association next month.
With the shooting competition coming up soon, she trains at the Hawkeye Rifle Shooting Academy for one-and-half hours in the morning. Imagine her lifting a rifle of around 3.5 kg in the morning and then going to school immediately after. She ends her day with two hours of gymnastics practice in the evening. To top it all, she is just nine years old.
Being involved in gymnastics for the past few years has helped her in shooting. “She is also a gymnast, which has helped her in shooting. It is due to gymnastics that she has incredible body balance. Also, the best thing about her is discipline. She will never skip any training and will listen to us patiently,” said Sharanendra KY, one of the coaches in the academy, who believes she has potential to do well in future.
However, there is no guarantee that Venkatesha will take up shooting as she loves gymnastics too. “I love both gymnastics and shooting. As far as my future goes, I want to pursue both,” said the schoolgirl, who is too young to make any call right now, to be fair.
There is no pressure from her parents, who are okay with whatever she decides. Her mother is a medical writer while father Venkatesha Babu is a software professional. Despite coming from a good family, choosing a sport like shooting is expensive with the equipment being extremely costly. As of now, the academy provides the rifle, which will she will use in the next competition too. Later, her parents have to bear major expenses.
“She is just a beginner so we invest on her daily ammunition required in practice and also the coaching fees at present. Once she becomes 10, we will have to invest in whatever it is – pistol or rifle. She is inclined towards the sport and if she wants to take shooting as her career, we will be willing to help her. We are aware that it is expensive and even if we do not get a sponsor in future, we will support her. Even if she chooses gymnastics, we will support her decision,” said Vinodhini.