Battling discrimination, shooter Seema Tomar aims at hitting bullseye
Seema recalls her legs were shaking after missing three targets during the final of World Cup in 2010 when Shahrukh Khan starrer ‘Chak De India’s’ dialogue became an inspiration for herlucknow Updated: May 25, 2017 19:45 IST
Shooter Seema Tomar, India’s first woman trap shooter to win a silver medal in World Cup and to equal Asian Record in 2016, belongs to a traditional village family where girls face restrictions and seldom get a chance to compete with boys.
Seema also experienced this discrimination but never gave up her desire to do something different and challenging in her life.
After years of persuasion, her family finally allowed her to pick up a gun to make a career in shooting. And winner of HT woman’s khel khiladi award aimed right for the bulls eye.
Seema recalls that her legs were shaking after missing three targets during the final of World Cup in 2010 and at that moment Shahrukh Khan starrer ‘Chak De India’s’ dialogue that ‘ these 70 minutes won’t return in the life a player’ became an inspiration for her. “I told myself that these few minutes were priceless in my life and the zeal to win a medal once again returned and finally I won a silver medal,” recalls Seema who got into the Army because of her shooting in 2004 and is currently posted in Delhi.
Seema was born in village Johri of district Baghpat in a farmer’s family and after completing her schooling from neighbouring village Jiwana she did her post-graduation in Sanskrit with first division. Impressed with Seema’s marks teachers advised her to become a teacher but Seema had something else in her mind and the job of a teacher never attracted her. She says, “I always wanted to do something different and challenging in my life and knew that job of a teacher was not my cup of tea.”
She had a liking for guns since childhood and she was fond of buying toy guns and cars during village fair. My mother used to tell my brothers to buy toy guns and cars at the village fair for me and that was the biggest reward for me. Seema recalls that she used to watch her brother with excitement and curiosity whenever he would clean their family’s licensed weapons.
Her desire to pick up and operate a real gun culminated into reality when a shooting range was opened in the village and she was admitted to practice in the 10 metre rifle event. “ I was so happy and practiced with sincerity but it all ended in a short span of 10 days when my family directed me to stop going to the range,” said Seema. Their reason was how could a girl be in shooting sport.
Seema was very upset but had no choice. All her pleas failed to change the family’s decision. Meanwhile, her mother Prakasho began accompanying her grandsons to the range but they could not do much in the sport. One day shooting range coach Rajpal Singh asked Prakasho Tomar to fire a shot and impressed by the outcome he advised her to try hand in pistol shooting. Prakasho began her practice without bringing it into the knowledge of family members and it also came as boon for Seema who got chance to resume her practice after her mother won a few medals in village level competitions. “My mother`s entry into shooting came as turning point for me and I was allowed to resume my shooting”, said Seema who played her first National Championship in 2003 in the 10 metre rifle event.
Next year she watched a shotgun event and was thrilled by shooters hitting moving targets instead of a stationary target. She decided to shift her event from rifle to shotgun and played National Championship in Trap and Double Trap events in 2005. She got selected into the national squad and thereafter in the national team and played her first International match in the same year. Since then Seema has represented India in Many World Cups, Asian Championships, Commonwealth Games and National Games and won several medals for the country. She has been now targeting to give her best performance in upcoming World Championship and Commonwealth Games. “Like other shooters, I am also focusing to qualify for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and World Championship,” said Seema who’s message to parents is to treat their boys and girls equally.