I laugh when I think back at how it all began. A long and bizarre journey for a chubby 12-year-old who hated all activity and sport! The running, kicking and chasing in football and tennis left me breathless, bugged and even more hungry! (I did give both a rather dismal attempt!)
My parents worried about my lack of interest in anything that required laws of motion and, after much deliberation, brought in a sporty uncle to share their troubled thoughts! He was entrusted with the monumental task of introducing me to the joys of sport and rifle shooting became my preferred option! I was introduced to my first coach Col. Dhillon, of whom I have very fond memories.
Bingo! Rifle shooting caught my fancy instantly, mainly because you just had to stand as still as possible!! Could it get better?
For all my laziness I was pretty enamored by the idea of fame... and the desire to make a name for myself in some way stayed with me . At that young age, I absolutely loved the idea of being known! I remember my name appearing in the newspaper once and I was so excited that, for months, I carried that little cutting everywhere I went!!!
My wildest dreams didn't take me to how it did all eventually unfold... Me? An Olympian? Chubby little boys whose sporting ambitions are motivated by standing very still don’t think about winning Olympic gold medals or becoming world champions.
At 13 my ambition was to become a district level champion and even this was mostly motivated by having found a legitimate reason to skip school and tuitions! Of course the downside was training through a blistering 45 degrees summer, my only cover being the shade of a mango tree. In retrospect, the mangoes from that tree cheered me up somewhat.
After spending six months shooting I realised I had a situation — one which has not diminished 15 years later — I had fallen irrevocably in love! I know now that I will have to go to rehab if I leave the sport, this addiction to punch holes into a black target is a peculiar but compelling one! Ironically, I have spent these 15 years running 10 km five times a week! So much for standing still!
I have to thank my parents for finding the perfect sport for me and pushing me into it. Their support in victory and, more than ever, in loss has been invaluable. They have provided a positive environment which has been crucial for me, the realist who sees things with all rosiness removed! In sport this can be dangerous as, when competing at the highest levels, truckloads of insecurities set in and support is vital. Their belief in me was the key to my achievements.