Sixteen-year-old Malaika Goel from Ludhiana, probably the youngest player in the Indian Squad at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, has made the country proud by winning a silver medal in the 10-metre air pistol event.
As soon as the news of her winning the medal broke, a wave of cheer spread in the city, even as her coach and friends could not contain their happiness and the District Rifle Association broke into celebrations.
A jubilant, Gurjeet Singh, Malaika’s coach, said, “My happiness cannot be expressed in words at the moment. To hog limelight was not her cup of tea. Therefore, maintaining a low profile even after winning 16 medals at international events kept her focused on her game. Hina Sidhu, one of the best shooters in the country, delivered a power-packed performance in the initial rounds, but it was Goel, who outperformed her by keeping her performance intact, and won silver for India.”
Singh further added, “A fearless approach, mental toughness, ability to withstand pressure with ease and lasting concentration are some of the traits which put her high on the pedestal. This is just another step on the ladder of success as she has set her aim to win a gold medal at the Olympics”.
Jagdeesh Singh Brar, president, District Rifle Association, said, “It is indeed a proud moment for each one of us. The sincere efforts put in by Malaika and her coach and parents have finally borne fruit today. What makes the achievement even more praiseworthy is the fact that despite being trained in inadequate circumstances, she has earned glory for her country.”
Elated to hear the news, a group of Malaika’s friends from Sacred Heart Convent School, said, “We were sure that she would bag a medal at the Commonwealth Games. Her commitment and focus are exemplary and she is an inspiration for all of us.”
Arjun, a close family friend, could not stop applauding after getting the news. “This is just a beginning as sky is the limit for her,” he said. Goel took to shooting at a young age of 11 at the shooting range at Narangwal. She stunned everyone with her outstanding gold medal-winning performance at the school nationals in 2009, when she was merely 12 years old.
Later she won a gold medal at the Asian Air Gun Championship held in Germany in 2009 and in the same year she bagged another gold at the Junior Internationals.