4 world-class Indian shooters who are mentoring youngsters

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Jaspal Rana and Manu Bhaker

Indian shooting has undoubtedly grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years. The emergence of new faces has revolutionised the sport in the country. Since 2018 India has won a record number of medals at ISSF World Cups, ISSF Junior World Cups, Asian Championships and at multi-sport events such as the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Youth Olympics.

Much of the credit goes to former Indian shooting greats who have taken the role of coaching, mentoring and passing on their experience to talented young shooters. India’s recent successes in shooting would not have been possible without their dedicated efforts.

Today as Teachers Day is celebrated across India, we take a look at 4 world-class shooters who are also world-class coaches.

Joydeep Karmakar

Joydeep Karmakar with Mehuli Ghosh

In 2012, Joydeep Karmakar narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal as he finished fourth in the 50m Men’s Rifle Prone event at the London Olympics.

He learnt to take the disappointment in his stride and decided to focus instead on coaching. He founded the Joydeep Karmakar Shooting Academy at Kolkata in 2015.

One of his star pupils is 10m Rifle shooter Mehuli Ghosh, one of the most talked-about young shooters in the country.

Mehuli won a bronze on her debut at the ISSF World Cup in Mexico in 2018 and a Silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She shot a finals World Record score of 253.3 at the South Asian Games held in Nepal last year. Despite tough competition in the Women’s 10m AR event in India, she is one to watch out for in the future.

Gagan Narang

Elavenil Valarivan and Gagan Narang

Gagan Narang needs no introduction to Indian shooting fans. The 2012 Olympic bronze winner and 2010 World Championship medalist is one of the founders of the Gun for Glory academy.

Among his wards is 2019 ISSF World Cup Finals winner and current World No.1 in Women’s 10m AR Elavenil Valarivan. ‘Ela’ also has a number of ISSF Junior medals to her name and is the current current junior team World Record holder along with Mehuli and Shreya Agrawal.

Elavenil is one of the contenders for a place in the Indian Women’s Air Rifle squad for the Tokyo Olympics along with Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil. She will certainly be among the medal contenders if she makes it to the team.

Suma Shirur

Suma Shirur

10m Air Rifle shooter Suma Shirur is only the second Indian woman after Anjali Bhagwat to make it to the Olympic finals. She finished 8th at Athens 2004.

The former world-record holder is one of the founders of the Lakshya Shooting Club and is currently the high-performance coach of the junior Indian rifle team.

As a coach she has mentored a number of shooters including 2016 Olympian Ayonika Paul, Indian rifle squad member Kiran Jadhav and current national champion Zeena Khitta.

She has also helped youngsters Divyansh Singh Panwar and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar in securing Tokyo Olympic quotas.

Jaspal Rana

Jaspal Rana (extreme left) with India’s Youth Olympics contingent

India’s junior pistol coach Jaspal Rana was recently honoured with the prestigious Dronacharya Award by the central government on National Sports Day (August 29th). Interestingly, his two famous students, Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker won the Arjuna Award at the same ceremony.

Rana is a legend of Indian pistol shooting and has won several medals at the Asian and Commonwealth Games.

Manu and Saurabh are two of the best pistol shooters in the world at present both in the individual and mixed events. Rana has been instrumental in their rise.

He has also mentored another youngster, 25m RFP CWG gold medallist Anish Bhanwala and the other members of the Indian junior pistol team who have won several medals at the ISSF Junior World Cups in the last few years.

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