The usual story of any athlete follows a definitive plot: He takes up a particular sports discipline as a hobby, develops a keen interest for the game over a period of time and finally seals it as his profession.
For Gurkiran, the things have worked the other way round. The dream to join Indian Air Force prompted her to start with fencing two years ago.
As she developed the affinity for the sports, medals started coming her way. Today, the 18-year-old has two national medals, apart from numerous inter-school medals, under her belt.
“There is something about fencing that gives me feel of defence services. So, when I started with the sport
at my school in 2012, I immediately decided to pursue it seriously,” shares Gurkiran, who is a former student of Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, and is currently pursuing a B.Tech degree in mechanical engineering from PEC University of Technology.
A couple of days after starting with fencing, Gurkiran came in contact with Charanjeet Kaur, a former international level fencer, who presently works as the physical education teacher at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 10.
“Charanjeet ma’am worked really hard on my basic skills due to which I went on to win one silver and a bronze in two different team events of my first inter-school fencing championship. Later that year, our team won a bronze in the 58th National School Games held in Maharashtra.”
More medals came Gurkiran’s way last year: in the inter-school school event, she won her first individual
medal (a bronze) and a team silver in the Sabre event (a form in fencing sport). Besides, she also won a team bronze medal in the Epee event. In the 59th National School Games held in Andhra Pradesh, she improved from the 2012 edition, finishing with team silver.
However, it’s not that Gurkiran’s sporting interest is all into fencing. She has also some notable achievements in carrom. But unlike fencing, the teenager tells, her initiation into carrom happened by chance.
“Back in 2008, I was selected in the school carrom team for the inter-school event. The team won silver, which motivated me to continue with the sport. Later, I started practising under city-based coach Mazhar Khan who is also my current coach,” shares Gurkiran, who has a total of eight team medals from sub-junior and junior events of different national, zonal and inter-school tournaments.
However, as Gurkiran adds further, it becomes more than hectic to pursue studies and sports side by side.
“Sometimes, it becomes a bit difficult to divide the day between tuitions, lectures and practice. And, when tournaments are around, the schedule becomes more tiring. But over the years, I have learnt to strike a balance between all, although academics has always been my priority,” adds Gurkiran, who scored in the excess of 90% and 80% in her 10th and 12th class examinations. On the sporting front, Gurkiran awaits new challenge at the end of this year.
“I am looking forward to participating in the inter-university fencing tournament, to be held later this year or at the start of 2015. The tournament will present a bigger challenge, so greater will be the joy of winning the medal,” added Gurkiran, whose father Gurpreet Singh is an electrical engineer with a private company, while mother Gurmeet Kaur is a government employee.