Heena Sidhu confirmed a welcome return to shooting form, when she backed up her Gold medal winning effort at home at the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship, with another Gold Medal on Day 4 of the 13th Asian Shooting Championship here in Kuwait City. Heena shot an excellent 198.2 in the finals to edge out Mongolian Gundegma Otreyad who shot 198. Jangmi Kim of Korea won the Bronze.
She is an ace Indian shooter, the first Indian Pistol shooter to be Ranked World No.1 (as on 7 April’2014) by ISSF, the first Indian Pistol shooter to have won a Gold medal in the 2013 ISSF World Cup Finals -Pistol in 10 metre Air Pistol event. She thus, became the third Indian shooter after Anjali Bhagwat (2003) and Gagan Narang (2008) to win a Gold medal in a Rifle/Pistol World Cup Finals. She along with Annu Raj Singh won the gold medal in women’s Pairs 10 metre air pistol at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Heena (384) and Annu (375) won the 14th gold medal for India from the shooting range. She also won a silver medal in the singles event. She is also the first Indian shooter who has appeared on the ISSF magazine’s cover page for the first time ever since the National Rifle Association of India was formed on 17 Apr 1951. Sidhu, is the Finals World record holder in 10 metre air pistol event with a final score of 203.8.
The medal winning efforts of India on Day 4 are as follows:
10M Air Pistol Women
Heena Sidhu struck Gold shooting a score 198.2 in the finals. Gundegma Otreyad of Mongolia won the Silver shooting 198 while Jangmi Kim of Korea won the Bronze ending with a score of 176.2
10M Air Pistol Women Junior
Shri Nivetha backed up her Gold medal winning performace at the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship held in Delhi with another Gold here in Kuwait City. She shot 195.8 in the finals to edge out Shinemurun Nyamdorj of Mongolia who shot 195.4. Heesun Kim of Korea won the Bronze shooting 174.4.
Shreya Gawande, Shri Nivetha and Oshin Tawani also won the Team Gold with a combined total of 1114. Mongoloia won the Silver and Korea the Bronze
10M Air Pistol Youth Women
The Team of Nayani Bharadwaj (374), Harshada Nithave (374) and Malaika Goel (365) won the Team Gold in the 10M Air Pistol Youth Women event.
She is a true golf lover. Even when she is not playing the sport, she is doing something that’s related to it whether it is teaching golf to our younger generation or organizing golf events. Other than golf, she has also represented her state in swimming and according to her, swimming helps her to relax and rewind. She talks to shethepeople.TV about her performance this year at Women’s Professional Golf Tour and the treatment of women in golf. Read on to know more about her and the sport.
1. You started your golfing career quite early at the age of 12 and yet you took your time to turn pro at the game. What made you take a break from it and then make a comeback?
I was very fortunate to have incredibly supportive parents who encouraged me at every turn. They nurtured my love for sport – not just golf but also with swimming and athletics. When I started playing golf in the 80’s, opportunities for professional female golfers did not exist in India. Throughout my school career, I juggled my swimming and golf and continued playing amateur golf till I left for college. Sport has always played an important role in my life.
Women’s Professional Golf gained real momentum only about 6 years ago. I actually turned professional 8 years ago when I started teaching golf professionally.
2. Apart from golf, you have represented state in swimming, which sport do you enjoy the most?
Having trained with some members of the US Olympic team in Mission Viejo, US, I realized that India could not at that time offer me the same standards of training. Swimming could not be a career choice if I was to remain in India. I did use the skills I learned to come back to train my swimming team. And so, the decision was somewhat made for me – golf became my main focus and my career of choice.
Picture by WGAI
I love both swimming and golf. Luckily, they are complimentary finesse sports that require large amounts of concentration and practice to get right. A lot of successful athlete’s cross-train to improve their game. I continue to use swimming as a low-impact activity as part of my after golf routine to help me relax and wind down after a round – besides it’s a great way to soothe sore muscles.
Golf is a great teacher of life lessons, says Rani Sonti
Every time I teach or play, I gain further insight into myself, my colleagues, my students and the game. I love how golf challenges me to find areas of opportunity each time and challenges me to improve my game and myself every time I play.
3. You started playing golf at a time when not many women were part of it. What kind of difficulties did you face in the sport being one of the few?
I was fortunate to be introduced to golf in Kolkata, a city where clubs encouraged women to play the game at a time when other cities did not. And of course, my parents didn’t believe that women should face any barriers just by virtue of their gender. It was by no means easy to be entering a male dominated sport but perseverance has paid off. I went on to be the first female golfing instructor in Bangalore and I hope to blaze the trail for many more firsts for women in golf in India. I wait for the day when women are recognized in the same way as their male counterparts and compensated in the same way.
4. This year you played at Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour and secured sixth position for yourself. How do you plan to make your position better at the sport next time?
2014 was a challenging year for me on a personal level. It is no secret that I am a cancer survivor. It took me a while to get my strength back and get on my mental game again. My goal had been to just be able to play in 2015. I was delighted to play this year and make a comeback so quickly! Getting on the merit list was an added bonus. My next goal is to play the tour in 2016. I know it won’t be easy to play with the younger players who are playing some amazing golf, but I am up for the challenge.
5. You have experienced a long time at the sport, what is the difference that you see in the acceptance of women in the sport?
Although we have made tremendous strides for women in golf, I believe we still have a long way to go.
I truly don’t think that women playing this sport are still well received in Bangalore.
Having learned the game in Kolkata, I know what it is like to be truly accepted and welcomed as equals in the sport. We in Bangalore have some work to do to get there, but get there we will.
6. You also coach women at the KGA and you are the only female coach in Bengaluru. How is your approach like with your students?
In KGA I coach both young women and men. I think it’s wonderful for children to see women coaches as they start their relationship with golf. My approach to coaching is simple – one must love the sport in order to excel. Once that love and respect for the sport is established they should find a coach that they connect with and stick with it. Golf is not a quick sport with fast returns – it requires dedication and hard work. They should enjoy themselves till they are able to handle the pressure of the game.
A good coach will assume the responsibility to teach students on how to handle themselves, the pressure and to decide when the time is right to take the student’s game to the next level and that’s when a good coach will bring in the technical side of the game. For girls entering the game, it is especially important to have a coach that understands the specific requirements for women/ girls to progress in the sport. Women/girls swing the club very differently to boys/men. As a coach I work on different aspects keeping in mind the specific needs of each gender. Being a professional golfer myself and having played this game for over 30 years both for pleasure and as a playing professional, I bring a lot more to the table as a teacher of this game. I look at teaching as the best way to give back to this sport that has taught me some great lessons.
7. Golf is also termed as the sport of the elites. Do you agree/disagree to the notion? Explain why?
Golf has developed a reputation for being a sport for the elite. That might have been true when access to golf was limited to only those who could afford a golf club membership. I think those days are long gone. It is heartening to see that golf is a growing sport in this country and now open to all who want to learn this sport. Golf comes with a lot of etiquette, rules and manners both on the course and off, so anyone who is willing to learn both the game and the etiquette is welcome to participate.
If learning manners and proper etiquette makes one elitist then golfers all over the world are guilty!
8. What keeps you busy when you aren’t practicing at the circuit or coaching young females?
I coach golfers of all ages, both men and women. In my free time, I freelance as an event manager for golfing events. Being a professional golfer myself and having played this game both for pleasures as well as competitively, I bring a unique perspective to golfing event management. I also had the experience working in a golf management company for many years so I free-lance as event manager for certain golf tournaments when required.
9. Who according to you is the upcoming female achiever in golf?
There is a lot of fantastic up and coming female talent in golf so it’s difficult to choose just one. Aditi Ashok comes to mind as being a talent to reckon with and is in the news for all the right reasons. She will surely go all the way and I do wish her well. My dear friend Sharmila is another golfer who is someone to look out for. She has been dogged by injury recently, but she will have her moment in the sunshine soon enough!
10. What advice would you give to the young females who want to start learning golf?
The best advice I can give is to leave teaching the game to the teacher. Parental involvement usually impedes in the proper development of the student. The pressure of the game is enough for young people without adding another layer of complexity. Please do find a coach that is not teaching only for monetary reasons, which unfortunately is very prevalent in this era, especially with juniors.
Dipa Karmakar is a 22-year-old gymnast who is making India proud with her amazing moves particularly the Produnova performance in artistic gymnastics. The girl from Agartala finished 4th at the Rio2016 Olympics, was the the first Indian to qualify for the finals of World Gymnastics Championships this year. Her first accolades came at the Commonwealth Games last year where she won a bronze medal, the first Indian to win it in history. What actually makes Dipa Karmakar, the champion that she is:
1. Torch-bearer of the sport
India does not have a great history in gymnastics. Dipa learnt it, mastered it and is now riding on the success that gymnasium gave her. She did not have many people to look up to from India and that can be a disadvantage, but she took it upon herself to be an icon and became one.
2. Gutsy athlete
Dipa has shown her guts to be a performer not once, but many times when she had an injury and still went on to do her job effortlessly. In 2014, she participated in both the Asian Games and World Championships even after she had a serious hairline ankle fracture.
3. The Produnova champ
Produnova is the most difficult gymnastic sprint involving a handsprint and two somersault. Only four gymnasts have yet mastered it after Elena Produnova, after whom it was named. Well, Dipa is one of the four eminent gymnasts to have done it. It takes a high-level of dedication and focus to do the Produnova and the grace with which Dipa does it is unimaginable.
4. The Golden Girl
She is called the golden girl of Tripura for more reasons than one. She has excelled at the balancing beam, uneven bars, floor exercises and the vaulting table. The Arjuna Awardee has been a finalist in the Asian Games, The World Cup and the Commonwealth.
5. Overcoming weakness
Dipa is a flat-footed person, for whom gymnasium is much more difficult than a person having usual curved feet. She overcame her weakness and worked doubly hard to fix it and today she stands to be India’s best athlete to face the Olympics going to happen next year.
Back in 2008, when Abhinav Bindra acquired the first ever gold medal at Beijing Games, Apurvi Chandela in Jaipur found herself holding a rifle to become one of the finest women shooter of India. In yet another victory, she clinched the silver medal in women’s 10m air rifle event of the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup Finals today. After her podium finish at the Changwon World Cup, she became the second Indian shooter to book a quota to represent India in the Rio Olympics next year. Sports had always interested this 22 year old sensation, however she contemplated being a sports journalist once due to lack of formal training.
Five things to know about her,
1.Perfect 10: Not many know that Apurvi had shot a perfect 10 in her first attempt at a local shooting range in Jaipur. Having being offered a pistol, she said she wasn’t comfortable using it, and instead re emerged from the weapons room with a rifle. Aren’t we glad that she did?
2. Revolutionary: Women shooters were unable to meet the benchmark set by their predecessors until Apurva emerged revolutionising the women’s 10m air rifle team for good. The team which often faced flak for their performance is no more a weak link in the strong Indian shooting contingent.
3. Determined: Apurvi was battling an acute ligament fracture while representing India at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she registered her first career gold. Her determination to win resulted in her splendid display of physical and mental toughness.
4. Family person: Apurvi is accompanied by her family to all her tournament domestic or international. Her father is her biggest support system maintaining records of all her scores since she first registered a win at the Jaipur range in 2008.
5. Emotionally challenged: Where other players decide to express victory explicitly (Saurabh Ganguly’s victory shirt off ), Apurva chooses to keep her emotions in check. She says, “I am happy I won, but I cant be over-expressive”. She has been advice by her relatives to be more expressive after winning any medal.
However, booking a quota doesn’t assure Apurvi, a place in the Indian shooting contingent. It is the National Rifle Association of India who will decide her fate in the game. However being positive, Apurva said, “My target is to improve my scores. The good thing is that by winning the quota place in the first World Cup itself, the pressure is off me and I can now focus on my game”.
Shooter Apurvi Chandela, who recently won a silver medal at the women’s 10m air rifle shooting event in Munich is not exactly overjoyed that she missed out on the gold. But she is using it as a drive to claim the top spot at the upcoming Rio Olympics.
She says, “I play every match with the intention of giving my best, and I think it’s normal to have pressure of performing well. I also had it in the first match I ever played, but I am getting used to it now since I’ve competed in so many competitions and gained more experience.”
Apurvi, who looks up to a lot of sportspersons, like Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Sachin Tendulkar, Roger Federer, Michael Phelps wakes up early and puts in at least six hours of practice every day where she manages to sneak in a run and swim and also a bit of rest. “But my days are not always the same, since I travel a lot for competitions and I am not stationed at one place,” she adds.
It was only a few years ago that she was introduced to the sport and prior to that being in high school, most of her time was spent at home concentrating on her academics.
Winner of Gold at CommonWealth Games 2014
“Now, I am hardly at home, I have had a busy shooting season lately with back to back competitions and training camps,” says the shooter who also enjoys reading swimming and basketball.
Although many women are pursuing shooting of late, it still remains a sport primarily male dominated. But Apurvi asserts that aspect has never been a drawback for her.
Cleared for Summer Olympics 2016
“I haven’t faced challenges because of being a woman. My family is very supportive, they have always encouraged me and supported me. I have come to this stage because of them. There are so many girls who are taking up shooting now,” adds Apurvi, looking forward to winning many more medals at important competitions.
Jaipur girl Apurvi Chandela, today did the country proud by winning a Silver medal in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event, at the ISSF World Cup Final (Rifle/Pistol) being held in Munich, Germany. This is a special medal for Apurvi as only shooters with the top nine scores over the four World Cups held earlier in the year, qualified for the Munich World Cup Final. In April this year, Apurvi had secured a Rio Olympics quota place for India after winning the Bronze medal in the same event in the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea. Apurvi is also the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in the event.
Apruvi qualified for the final in fourth position with a score of 416.4. In the finals she shot a total of 206.9 to clinch the Silver. Elaheh Ahmadi of Iran won the Gold with a score of 207.5 while Andrea Arsovic of Serbia won the Bronze medal in a shoot-off.
Clearly pleased at the news, Mr. Raninder Singh, President of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), the national body governing the sport in the country said, “We are very excited in the way Apurvi has developed as a shooter over the past years. She has been raising the bar with every outing. This performance today has confirmed her status as one of the top women Rifle shooters of the world in her discipline. I am sure this medal will spur her for more consistency and greater glory and will act as a confidence booster as she prepares herself for the Rio 2016 Olympics.”
Expressing his happiness at the result, Mr. Kuldeep Chandela, father of Apurvi Chandela, said, “The family is delighted at this result, especially because it was a premiere competition between the year’s top shooters in the event. We are indebted to the coach Lapidius, who has always shown great confidence in Apurvi’s abilities throughout and worked very hard with her. We would also like to thank the NRAI for supporting her all through and taking care of all administrative matters, so that Apurvi could concentrate solely on her sport. Her record suggests that she is the best finalist among all Indian shooters as every time she makes the final rounds, she comes back with a medal of some colour. This medal will surely boost her confidence even more towards the aim of winning an Olympic medal, hopefully Gold.”
Four Indian shooters namely Gagan Narang (Men’s 50m Rifle Prone), Gurpreet Singh (Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol) and Jitu Rai (Men’s 10m Air Pistol) apart from Apurvi had made the grade for the Munich World Cup Finals for Rifle and Pistol. The highlight apart from Apurvi’s stunning performance was that all four Indians made the final rounds of their respective events.
Feminism in India is a skewed concept says eminent journalist Rana Ayyub. It’s not about male-bashing or rhetoric on twitter. ‘To me it’s about making women more aware of their rights she avers. There are enough men who are feminists and taking them along our journey is very much within the concept and definition of feminism.
When Oprah Winfrey said turn your wounds into wisdom, Namrata Purohit was paying close attention. The formal National-level Squash player fell off a horse and was advised to “take it easy” but it meant not doing so many things she loved from riding to dancing. Against all odd, this twenty-nothing tried everything to help her walk out of that mess on two perfect limbs.
Today she performs a full split with her perfectly tones legs, and scuttles between rooms to yell orders at her students like Bipasha Basu, Jacquelini Fernandz, Farah Khan, Pooja Bedi and many more to “Get it Together!” In her very own Stott Pilates studio, she tells us how she wanted to spread the “magical” thing that cured her as soon as she could. And soon for her, meant at the age of 20.
Read on to know the story of this young woman turning her wounds to wisdom, to a business and to a life-altering service for people she meets
In a country where sport outside of cricket get little attention and focus, she talks about the rise of young women in golf. Gauri Monga is one of India’s upcoming golf talent and she continues to grow with every tournament. Outside of her sport she recounts the challenges of being young and ambitious in a country like India which forces women to struggle for safety, security and growth. Here’s her conversation with Shubhangini Arora in our new series Next Gen Woman.
OTHERS IN THIS SERIES
Comedian Aditi Mittal blasts India for obsessing with stereotypes, an interview that’s bound to make you laugh and cry at the same time.