NEW DELHI: Rifle shooter Shreya Agrawal was in two minds when she got a call to attend selection trials in New Delhi. The trials were held to pick the Indian team for the 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei. A class XII biology student, Shreya’s examination dates were clashing with dates of the trial as well as the event.
It was difficult to choose between studies and shooting. She decided to speak to her parents and coaches to arrive at the right decision. “Yes it was a difficult decision to skip exams but it is always nation first for me. My coaches and family tried to find a way out, but it isn’t that easy. It all comes down to priority,” Shreya told this newspaper from Taoyuan.
The decision seemed to have paid dividends as Shreya on Thursday won a gold medal in the 10m air rifle mixed team event along with Yash Vardhan in junior category. They pipped Indian pair of Mehuli Ghosh and Keval Prajapati for the yellow metal.
Mehuli and Keval topped qualification with a score of 838.5, while the eventual champions qualified in second position with 831.2. The silver medallists led throughout the final and going into the final six shots, had opened a gap of 1.6 over Shreya and Yash. The golden pair overturned the deficit finishing with 497.3 to Mehuli and Keval’s 496.9. Korea won bronze.
The Asian Airgun Championship is not a qualifying event but the 18-year-old shooter still decided to give examinations a miss. “Even though it is not a qualifying event for Olympics, the scores in such competitions help towards improving my domestic ranking which in turn will help me go to Olympics,” she reasoned.
“If I am representing India and winning medals, I would happily give examinations a miss. But this doesn’t mean that studies don’t matter to me. I can take the examinations next year but I might not get a second chance to win gold for the country,” she added.
Father Sanjay Agrawal is also happy that her daughter decided to skip her boards and said, “Shooting is her priority. She will always have a second chance as far as studies is concerned. Even in the past, she studied on WhatsApp while participating in tournaments.”
Shreya clinched two medals including a team gold and a bronze in the mixed team event at the ISSF World Championship held in Changwon, Korea last year. She also bagged a team gold in Junior World Cup held in Sydney earlier that year.