Today I present our 10th Olympian – Vijay Kumar! You can read more on Olympics and India in my earlier post Olympic Heroes of India.
“I have lots of medals but that Olympic medal was missing – now it is here.”
– Vijay Kumar
Vijay Kumar won the Silver medal at 2012 London Olympics in the individual 25 Meter Rapid Fire Pistol event.
As it happened
August 2, 2012, London
Vijay Kumar started with a bang, hitting the target all five times and kept himself in the hunt. After a perfect five out of five at the start, Kumar, found the target four times in the second and third round, but missed it twice in the fourth. He fought back well and shot four times in the next three rounds and assured himself of a Silver medal.
Life of The Champion
Vijay Kumar was born in a humble family based in a small village of Himachal Pradesh called Barsar. His father, Bankur Ram Sharma, was a man of poor means. To support the family Vijay Kumar joined the army. It was there he took up the shooting. He was serious about shooting right from the beginning. Army life is full of challenges. Kumar says that the firm grounding of army life helped him to work even harder and fulfill his aim of wining the medal. Kumar has been awarded with the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) by Indian Army after his splendid performance at the London Olympics.
Presently he is serving as Subedar Major in the Indian Army.
London Olympics was the first appearance of Vijay Kumar. He made it worthwhile by winning the Silver medal for India. Not only he has made our country proud but also set an example for young aspiring athletes.
“Olympics is everyone’s dream. I am glad. I am now an Olympic medallist.”
I am back with 8th individual Olympic champion of India. Gagan Narang is a shooter who won the Bronze medal in 10 meter air rifle shooting sport at London Olympics in 2012.
As It Happened
July 30 2012, London
Gagan Narang was placed third in the qualifying round with a score of 598. In the final round, he started with a bang but he was off target with the second shot which fetched him a score of 9.7. That was a blow but Gagan quickly got over with the previous shot and for next four shots he was back with the scores of 10.6, 10.7, 10.4 and 10.6. Thus total score of Gagan’s was 701.1 and thus the bronze medal in shooting for 10 meter air rifle. The silver medal went to Niccolo Campriani of Italy who scored 701.5. This simply shows shooting is such a terrific and precision oriented sport.
img source firstpost.com
Life of The Champion
Gagan Narang was born in Chennai, later raised in Hyderabad. He touched the gun for the first time at the age of six for shooting down balloons at Chennai Marina Beach carnival. When kids of his age were picking up toy cars, he used to buy toy guns. There was a time when his parents had to sell off a plot of land so that he can buy a rifle for competitive tournaments. After that they stayed in a rented house for the next 15 years. This Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee has made India proud in the world of shooters. Gagan not only has won Olympic Bronze but also shooting world cup Bronze as well.
Truly a Glorious gem!
“The cricketer has Test matches through the year, the tennis player has four Grand Slam events in twelve months, and the golfer has the same number of majors annually. Constantly, there is an opportunity for redemption, a chance to stake a claim for greatness. Not for me. My only chance comes every four years. My only chance is seventy shots in 125 minutes every four years (the first 60 shots have to be fired in 105 minutes, each of the final ten shots within 75 seconds.)”
Abhinav Bindra won India’s first ever individual Olympic Gold medal on Monday, August 11 2008 with a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the men’s 10 meters air rifle event.
image source www.youtube.com
As It Happened
August 11, 2008, Beijing, China
In the qualifying round Abhinav was placed fourth. In the final round he hit a near perfect shot for the score of 10.8. The maximum score anyone can achieve is of 10.9 which is considered as absolutely perfect shot and a bull’s eye.
Shooting sports demands precision. Mind you this is not an easy game. It need a lot of perseverance, dedication and never to say die attitude. Abhinav Bindra has all these qualities and that is what made him Countries First Ever Individual Gold Medalist till date.
Graham Crouch/Getty Images
At the mere age of 15, In Sydney 2000 Olympics, Abhinav was the youngest participant from India. At Athens 2004 it was heartbreaking to see him not making to the finals despite making a world record. That was a real low point. At that time he decided to quit shooting. They say “sometimes it’s better to accept the situation and let it go.” Abhinav learnt this hard way. But with his dedication to the craft and determination to succeed Abhinav has made India proud by wining Gold medal at 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“You can’t say what the outcome of a competition is going to be, so now I am ready to accept any result that comes my way, if I give my best shot.”
– Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has won country’s first ever Olympic Individual Silver medal in Men’s Double Trap shooting event at 2004 Athens Olympics.
As It Happened
August 17, 2004, Athens, Greece
In the preliminary rounds the performance of Rathore was not so great but then he picked up and rose to the occasion in the final round. At one point he was really looking good for gold, but windy conditions deterred him. However, the army man did not lose his cool and thus shoot a score of 179 out of 200 to finish second and came up with Silver medal. UAE’s Ahmed Almaktoum took the Gold while China’s Wang Zheng has to satisfy with Bronze medal.
The Silver medal won by Rathore in double trap event at the 2004 Athens Olympics made a record for India and broke that curse of not winning beyond Bronze in individual event. This was the first ever individual Silver medal win by any country men/women.
Life Of The Champion
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was born in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan in an army family. At home he is nicknamed as ‘Chilly’. His parents describe him as soft-spoken and down to earth person.
He had a knack for shooting since childhood. As boys are fascinated with guns. But how many of them really have courage to follow that passion? Well… Rathore has been a medal hunter right from his pre NDA days. While he was in NDA (National Defense Academy) Pune, Rathore took up shooting seriously. There he received the Blazer, highest sports award and since then has never looked back.
He served India during Kargil war and that was the only time where his love for shooting became his 2nd priory because Service Before Self was his mission and motto . Few years later he picked up a gun to represent our nation in Sports. With his dedication and hard work he became first Indian to win an Olympic Silver medal for India.
He has been awarded with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna , country’s highest sporting award. we are proud of you Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore!
This post is funny in some way as here I am dreaming about me being a world class shooter. I do like to try it in real but have not given a serious thought about it. I do want to give it a shot one day!
Anyway in fictional world I am being interviewed after my big win. Read more to find out Berrys Cover Story!
CNN News: Berry with the media talking about her win at recently concluded 10 meter air rifle shooting World championships in South Korea
I am being interviewed by CNN news to talk about women empowerment and shooting as sports in India.
CNN News: Jyoti getting interviewed by CNN correspondent
CNN: Let’s talk about your life? How you started with shooting?
Berry: I came from a pretty modest background. At home we never had any sporting culture as such. In fact I was never been an athlete. But many times while growing up I always had a huge influence of sports persons on me rather than any Bollywood movie actors one grow up watching. I liked the raw and honest emotion a player shows while playing any game. As I started watching more sports I too felt to try out something. Shooting is one such game which has no age limit. It is an individual sports and you don’t need to run around much so I thought let’s give it a try.
CNN: How long have you been a shooter, and what do you enjoy most about your career?
Berry: It may sound clichéd but I always loved to punch; whether it’s punching holes on a paper or punching my brother. J Shooting is my hobby. This is individualistic sport so most of the time you feel total in control or you make yourself feel that things are all in your control.
CNN: How about women empowerment and what does shooting has to do with it?
Berry: I would like women to raise their voices and to be self dependent. Shooting is a good way to channel your energies and focus on one target. That may give a head start for many women to tackle their problems in a more positive way.
CNN: You have been listed in a leading magazine as one of the influential persona. Would you like to comment on that?
Berry: Oh… All I can say is a big thank you. I love my life. Ultimately that’s what each one of us should work towards. You keep growing everyday along with your people.