Armed with a Swiss air pistol, oodles of confidence and single-minded focus, 14-year-old Kartike Mahajan aims to hit the bull's eye at the International Shooting Sports Federation Competition for juniors to be held in London in January next year.
A student of The Lawrence School in Sanawar, this Pathankot resident won silver medals at the Himachal Pradesh Inter-school Shooting Championship in Shimla in 2012 and 2011.
His confidence is so high that at the national qualifier in Pune, the condescending words of an Australian coach that Kartike needed to grow up to handle the pistol better, could not discourage him. Instead the words spurred him to prove the coach wrong by qualifying for the final selections to be held in New Delhi on December 14.
Kartike started handling the gun when he was 12. His father Gopal Mahajan realised his son's talent and arranged for him a gun and a coach at Guru Nanak Dev University. It is here that Kartike learnt the basics.
After getting admission into The Lawrence School, he never looked back and went on to win medals. He was the only player from Himachal Pradesh at the qualifiers in Pune from September 12 to 18. Here he met Vijay Kumar, won a silver medal at the London Olympics. Gagan Narang was also impressed with Kartike.
When Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal visited his alma mater recently, Kartike got to interact with him. Sukhbir also appreciated the boy's talent.
"My coach, Manish Giri, and my parents are the forces behind my success," Kartike said. "I am pepped up for the London event and preparing for it."
"I will assist my son in whatever way I can so that he can represent the country in the Olympics," said Gopal.