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This shooting prodigy is aiming for bull’s eye at Olympics

Mokshit Chaudhary, a class 9 student of Apeejay School Faridabad and a shooting sensation, wants to emulate Abhinav Bindra and clinch Gold at the Olympics.

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Mokshit Chaudhary

Mokshit bagged the 1st position in the District level SGFI (School Games Federation of India) tournament in 10m Air Pistol U-17 category held at KGVPS School, Ballabhgarh. He also participated as a national player at the recently held 64th National Shooting Championship Competition (NSCC) at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, New Delhi. Mokshit’s father Vijay Kumar is in the business of real estate while his mother Mamta Chaudhary is a homemaker. In a candid interview, the 14-year-old talked about his inspiration, how he balances studies and shooting, his passion for cars, and more. Edited excerpts:

How and when did you develop an interest in shooting?

I always had the fascination for shooting, but I started my professional training in February 2019. My father along with his friend went to the Sports Complex, Sector 12 Faridabad for some reason. He liked the shooting range in the complex. As he was aware of my inclination for shooting, he encouraged me to get enrolled and start training. Since then, there’s no looking back.

Who is your role model?

I look up to Saurabh Chaudhary, the youngest Indian gold medalist at the Asian Games. More than his shooting, what stands out is his calm and composed personality. He shoots effortlessly and what’s exciting is that he is just 19 and I am sure he will do wonders.

How supportive have your parents been in your ambitions of becoming a shooter?

They have supported me through thick and thin. The shooting equipment is quite expensive in comparison to other traditional sports. Without the support of your parents there’s not much you can do. I am deeply indebted for their continued support.

What’s the kind of support you have received from your school and teachers?

I have been studying in Apeejay Faridabad since Nursery and the school has extended all possible help to me. Apart from academics, my school encourages students to shine in non-academic domains. I would also like to thank my current coach, Mr. Shantanu Thakur, for bringing out the best in me.

Away from the range, what are your other hobbies?

I am a car enthusiast. I keep a tab on new launches and latest car technology innovations. My favourite car is Rolls-Royce Ghost as it has sublime build quality. I also love watching movies.

Talking about movies, which is your favourite film?  

I find Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar starrer ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ immensely inspiring. The biographical film traces the lives of India’s oldest shooting champions, Prakashi Tomar and Chandro Tomar. The duo picked up guns in their 60s and participated in over 30 national championships. The movie lifts your spirits.

How have you managed to balance your studies along with your shooting?

I practice 2 hours every day, but not at the expense of my studies. If your time management skills are good you can do a lot in a day. Also, sports helps you excel in studies as it develops a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem. For instance, shooting is a sport that demands precision and focus. You should have the ability to exclude everything from your consciousness except the immediate task at hand. Inculcating such skills also helps you in your studies.

What are your future plans?

Right now my focus is to keep honing my skills and build confidence by participating and excelling in various tournaments. My ultimate aim is to represent Indian at the Olympics and possibly become the second Indian shooter after Abhinav Bindra to clinch Gold at the Olympics. Though, I know I need to work hard for it.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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