CHENNAI: Twelve years ago when Chinki Yadav’s father Mehtab was working at an under-construction 10m shooting range in Tatya Tope Stadium premises as an electrician, little did he realise that one day his daughter would be representing India in the same sport. Financially not very healthy, shooting is far from an ideal pursuit for his daughter. Then fate takes a turn, Chinki lands up in the lap of a shooting range and voraciously engages herself in the singular pursuit of the sport. As Chinki, 21, on Friday secured India’s 11th Tokyo Olympic quota in shooting at the 14th Asian Championship in Doha, those days came flashing across Mehtab’s mind. She is the second Indian shooter after Rahi Sarnobat to book an Olympic quota in the 25m pistol event.
“I was doing electricity fittings at the range. As my family lives in the stadium premises, Chinki accompanied me to the range quite often. It was there, she decided to pursue her career in sports. She though tried her hands in various sports but started practising shooting at the State Shooting Academy in 2011,” Yadav, who is a grade III employee with meagre means, told this daily from Bhopal. Incidentally, the shooting range was later inaugurated by India’s lone gold medallist in an individual event in Olympics Abhinav Bindra.
Yadav has been living in a one-room house with a metallic roof near the electric panel room in the stadium complex for years. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as both his children — Chinki and younger brother Rajesh — took up sports. “Rajesh became a shot-gun shooter. He though didn’t pursue it as seriously as Chinki but living at the stadium complex helped my children.”
Financial constraint was the biggest issue. Chinki, however, was recruited by a bank as an assistant manager a couple of years ago to ensure she concentrated on shooting. “A monthly stipend was enough to sort out all her financial issues. We ensured she doesn’t have to go to the bank every day. An arrangement was made for her to work from home,” Yashodhara Raje Scindia, former sports minister of Madhya Pradesh and a BJP MLA, told this daily.
The Madhya Pradesh shooter shot a perfect 100 to finish second in the qualification stage with an aggregate of 588, behind Thailand’s Naphaswan Yangpaiboon (590). Qualifying for the final, where she finished sixth, was enough for Chinki to book an Olympic quota place for the country as four of the eight finalists had already secured their quotas in earlier competitions.
“I cannot explain how happy I am. This has been my best ever performance. I would like to credit my coaches, especially Jaspal (Rana) sir for this as well as all those who have supported me including everyone in the Bhopal academy and the NRAI,” Chinki was quoted as saying. This is Chinki’s first year with the senior national team and she has already appeared in four ISSF World Cups so far. India have bagged Olympic quota places in 10m air rifle (men and women), 50m rifle 3 position (men), 10m air pistol (men and women) and 25m air pistol (women).