I often laugh silently when I think back at how it all began... A long and almost bizarre journey for a chubby fat 12-year-old boy who hated all activity and sport!
All the running, kicking, chasing and hitting, involved in football and tennis, left me breathless, bugged and even more hungry! (I did give both a rather dismal microscopic attempt!)
My parents worried about my complete lack of interest in anything that required some laws of motion and after much deliberation a sporty uncle was brought in to share their troubled thoughts!
He was swiftly entrusted with the monumental task of introducing me to the joys of sport and rifle shooting became the preferred option! I was introduced to my first coach Col Dhillon, at this time, of whom I have very fond memories to this day.
Bingo! Rifle shooting caught my fancy immediately, primarily because you just had to stand as still as possible! Could it get better...? For all my laziness, I was, however, pretty enamoured by the idea of fame...
And the desire to make a name for myself in some way somehow always stayed with me. At that young age, I absolutely loved the idea of being known!
I once remember my name appearing in the newspaper and I was so excited by the prospect, that for months, I carried that little column cutting from the
, everywhere I went!
My wildest dreams didn’t take me to the periphery of how it all unfolded eventually. Me? And an Olympian? Chubby little boys whose sporting ambitions are motivated by standing very still don’t always think about winning an Olympic gold medal or becoming a world champion.
I had no way of realising that I would spend the next 15 years of my life completely dedicated to the highest levels of sport. At 13, my ambition was to become a district level champion, and even this was mostly motivated by having found a very legitimate reason to skip school and tuitions!
Of course, the down side was training through the blistering summer in 45 degrees, my only cover being the shade of a mango tree. Though in retrospect, the mangoes from that tree were rather delicious and cheered me up somewhat.
After spending about half a year shooting, I realised I had a situation... One which 15 years down the road I have not been able to address or diminish! I had fallen irrevocably in love with the sport and become an addict!
Obsessed and addicted to shooting and the increasing ambition to be the best I could ever be! I know now that I will probably have to go to into rehab if I ever leave the sport, this addiction of punching holes on a black target is a peculiar but compelling one!
May I add that ironically, I have also spent these 15 years running 10 kms five times a week! So much for standing still!
Looking back, I have to thank myself for being plump, and my parents for their perseverance in finding the perfect sport for me, and just pushing me into it.
Their support over the years, in victory, and more than ever, in loss has been invaluable. They have always provided a very positive environment at home and this has been crucial for me, the realist, who saw things as they were, with all ‘rosiness’ removed!
In sport, this can be very dangerous as when competing at the highest levels, truck loads of in securities set in and encouragement and support is key and their belief in me was the key to my achievements.