It runs in the family for 14-year-old Indian shooting champion Naamya Kapoor, who surprised almost everyone by winning gold at the ISSF Junior World Championship in Lima on Monday.
At 14, she became the youngest Indian shooter to win a medal in a top international tournament when she claimed gold in the women’s 25m pistol, beating compatriot and Olympian Manu Bhaker. Kapoor shot 36 in the finals to claim the top prize ahead of France’s Camille Jedrzejewski (33) and 19-year-old Bhaker (31), who has already won three gold medals in the tournament.
Kapoor is the niece of three-time Olympian Sanjeev Rajput, and her elder sister Khushi is now knocking on the doors of national selection. The Kapoor family is elated but not surprised with their youngest daughter’s stunning feat.
“We have hopes from Naamya and Khushi as both are very hard working and talented in shooting,” Kapoor’s mother Gunjan told PTI on Tuesday.
The teen’s shooting journey began almost by accident as she used to accomonay her sister Khushi to the range. According to the Times of India, her talent was spotted by first coach Sabir Khan when she was 10.
“Naamya had the muscles of a shooter right from the beginning. That was the reason I told her parents to let her try the sport. She hardly gets distracted and fires fearlessly. Those are her best qualities,” Sabir was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
When the bespectacled teen was around 11-12, she found a mentor/coach in a 24-year-old Ankit Sharma, who had just retired as an active shooter to pursue coaching.
Gunjan attributed the growth and success of both her daughters to Sharma. “He has played the most important role in their development as shooters. He deserves every bit of credit for Naamya’s gold medal in the world championship, considering the manner in which he worked,” she added.
On his part, Sharma was modest about it and said Naamya possessed great potential to become a shooter of note, something that Rajput echoed.
“Naamya, as well as Khushi, have the talent and are great prospects for the country. Not just in shooting, they are also bright in academics,” Rajput said.
“While they have their coach working with them, I try to help them whenever we happen to meet during family gatherings. Mostly, I try to encourage them and help with ammunition, weapons, kits, I mean from where to get all these.”
Rajput is one of the country’s most experienced active rifle shooters and his tips can surely make a difference.
“Sanjeev bhai’s advice certainly helps them. Family plays a big role,” Sharma said.
“I agree world champions or Olympic champions are not born, but made. But still, we are there to hone their skills, motivate them as much as possible. Rest is their job, so the credit is also hers,” he added.
Sharma has been guiding Kapoor and her 17-year-old sister for the past two years at his Aim Shooting Academy in Faridabad.
With PTI Inputs
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