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Classmates from Bengal town aim to shoot India to glory in Australia

Mehuli Ghosh will take part in the Commonwealth Games in April and Ayushi Podder in the junior World Cup in Sydney next month

other sports Updated: Feb 10, 2018 09:37 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Commonwealth Games,CWG,Shooting World Cup
Former Olympian shooter Joydeep Karmarkar (left) with Mehuli Ghosh (centre) and Ayushi Podder at a press conference in Kolkata on friday.(HT Photo)

They are from the same neighbourhood, go to the same class in the same school and are on the cusp of adulthood. Over the next two months, they will also aim to shoot India to glory in Australia. Meet Mehuli Ghosh and Ayushi Podder, both 17. “We are not friends only when we are not competing with each other,” said Podder.

Students of the Techno India School in Chinsura, nearly 60km from Kolkata, Ghosh will be the youngest from Bengal to make it to the shooting squad for the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Gold Coast from April 4-15, where she will participate in the 10m air rifle. And between taking her CBSE examinations, Podder will take part in the junior World Cup in Sydney next month. This will be her fourth junior world meet and she will take part in three events: 10m air rifle, 50m three-position and the 50m prone events.

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Ghosh is the India No. 2 and her coach Joydeep Karmakar, 38, said having graduated to the senior’s category unexpectedly means she would be travelling for most of the year.

“Mehuli leaves for a World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico next month and then to the Commonwealth Games. After the Games, she goes to another World Cup on Korea,” said Karmakar who finished fourth in the 50m rifle prone in the 2012 London Olympics, at the Calcutta Sports Journalists’ Club here on Friday.

That means Ghosh would have to skip her board examinations. “I hope to take them next year,” said Ghosh who travels over 40km daily to train.

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Podder spoke to the media hours after taking a test. “I was focused on my board examinations. I just took part in the trials to ensure that my ranking didn’t slip too much. I had no expectations on the three-position because I had taken it up only a year ago,” said Podder who will participate in the junior World Cup from March 19-29 and take a CBSE paper on April 2.

The girl from Baidyabati, a town in Hooghly district some 34km from Kolkata, said she would leave for Sydney after writing a test on Match 17.

“She will train between preparing for the examinations. It will be hard but she is determined to take her academics seriously,” said Podder’s father and coach Pankaj a former national shooting champion.

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For them the journey has just begun. “After the Commonwealth Games, I aim to compete in the Youth World Cup and then the Tokyo Olympics,” said Ghosh who was till recently India’s No. 1. She could have been speaking for Podder too.

Without compromising on her shooting, Podder wants to aim for the Indian Police Service. Time will tell whether that happens but what cannot be denied is that she is already a crack shot.

First Published: Feb 10, 2018 09:36 IST