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This Kenyan shooter’s heart beats for India

other Updated: Feb 19, 2010 23:55 IST
Ajai Masand

Shaminderpal Singh Madhar is the archetypal Sikh. But it comes as a surprise when he introduces himself as a third generation Indian settled in Nairobi. Simply put, Madhar, whose grandfather migrated to Kenya in 1897, has not forgotten his roots despite coming to India just once in 2005.

Here as a competitor in the Commonwealth Shooting Championships, the one-man ‘Kenyan squad’ says he is on a mission. “I want to shoot the Minimum Qualification Score so that I can come again for the Commonwealth Games (in October),” says Madhar, a 49-year-old 10m air pistol shooter and an IT professional.

“I captained the Kenyan national shooting team to the All-African Games in Cairo, but coming here is a different experience. The kind of shooters India has, gives me motivation. I remember shooting alongside Jaspal Rana at the 2000 Commonwealth Championships in Bisley (England) and that encouraged me,” says Madhar whose grandfather migrated from Lyallpur (now in Pakistan).

"We don't have a big set-up back home but recently we've constructed a small 10m range with the help of the Kenya Regiment Rifle Club. It's the only club there. The government support is minimum as we are only given assistance for the Commonwealth Games and Olympics. We have to sponsor ourselves for the rest of the events.

“I was motivated to come to Delhi for the championship by India coach Deep Bhatia, who is now the sports manager for the event,” says Madhar, adding that being the only competitor from his country does not deter him from facing the field boldly.

On this, wife, Rajinder Kaur, chipped in, “Har Sikh sawa lakh ke barabar hai (A Sikh is equivalent to a lakh and more).”