Born-again Navyman making most of 2nd chance | other | Hindustan Times
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Born-again Navyman making most of 2nd chance

The summer of 2005 was brutally hot in Delhi. Practicing at the Karni Singh Ranges in Tughlaqabad, 50m rifle shooter Satguru Dass suddenly began to bleed from the nose. In minutes, he was unconscious, Ajai Masand explores.

other Updated: Jan 09, 2009 23:23 IST
Ajai Masand

The summer of 2005 was brutally hot in Delhi. Practicing at the Karni Singh Ranges in Tughlaqabad, 50m rifle shooter Satguru Dass suddenly began to bleed from the nose. In minutes, he was unconscious.

"I was immediately rushed to hospital where it was diagnosed that I had suffered a brain haemorrhage," the 33-year-old Navy shooter from Rohtak, the undisputed king of the prone till then, told the Hindustan Times.

"I was told by surgeons that precision shooting could take its toll as it put too much stress on the brain. Here I was, just 30 years of age and preparing for the World Cup after winning two gold medals at the SAF Games in Pakistan," said Dass.

"I was asked to take complete rest for a year and leave shooting altogether. My mother-in-law, a US-based doctor, told me I had to give up shooting or risk being paralysed."

But Dass, currently the Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) with the INS Dronacharya in Kochi, was made of sterner stuff.

A year later, he was back, even bagging a bronze at the 2006 nationals in Indore.

Shooting, like any other sport, is in the blood for some. What Dass then did, is merely reprioritize, temporarily. "With the Navy's permission, I am currently coaching the Kerala state team.

But I am seriously planning a comeback next year. When I see marksmen taking aim, I cannot stop myself. I want to be there, even if there is that lurking danger of being paralysed," said the marksman who works as a physical instructor-cum-coach in the Southern Naval Command.

Dass, who has six gold in the national championships and national games so far, has two years of service left with the Navy, after which he plans to go all out to revive his international career. His is a remarkably inspirational story, one of many that are seldom told in sport.

And after that?

Well, he plans to then help others see life and sport as he has, as a coach.