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Dombivli shooter aims for gold but struggles to get proper equipment

Bhakti Khamkar ranks seventh in the world rankings but expressed concern that her performance has been taking a hit because of her inferior equipment

mumbai Updated: Sep 02, 2018 00:32 IST
Ankita G Menon
Ankita G Menon
Hindustan Times
Bhakti Khamkar’s father poses with her medals.(HT Photo)

Bhakti Khamkar, 18, along with other shooters are hoping to make their country proud at South Korea’s International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF). But back home in Kopargaon, Dombivli (West), her family is trying hard to collect money to buy her new equipment.

“My daughter ranks seventh in the world rankings among shooters, with better equipment she can definitely do better. However, with my small income it is difficult to manage such a big sum. We were trying to buy her a new rifle so that she could take it to this championship but we could not,” said Bhaskar Khamkar, Bhakti’s father.

Bhaskar has a small business and his wife Mandakini works in the police department. Mandakini is also a national-level shooter, and inspired Bhakti to pick up the rifle at the age of 14. The teen started using her mother’s rifle initially and bought her own equipment after being selected to the national team.

“She has won numerous awards and medals. Last year she also earned a silver at the Indo-Bhutan tournament. Although she is hard-working, lack of advanced equipment can take you a step backward if compared to other participants. We have to collect ₹10 lakh for this equipment and are struggling to do that,” said Mandakini Khamkar, 45, Bhakti’s mother.

Bhakti herself expressed concern that her performance has been taking a hit because of her inferior equipment. “Also, better support from sports organisations will be a great motivation. But I have reached this level with help from the national sports association and my family’s continuous support,” said Bhakti, speaking to HT on the phone from South Korea.

The sportswoman is using her four-year-old rifle for the current tournament. “Various organisations including the police department have felicitated her and acknowledged her win. However, monetary help is less and we are trying to reach out to these organisations so that she will not lag behind and can make the nation proud on the international platform,” said Vishwanath Biwalkar, founder, Eagle Brigade Foundation, Dombivli.

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 00:31 IST