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Silver lining as Annu earns quota

The love for sports made Annu Raj Singh take the tough decision of leaving her hometown, Aligarh, and moving to Faridabad a decade back. Saurabh Duggal reports. Fact file

other Updated: May 18, 2011 01:13 IST
Saurabh Duggal

The love for sports made Annu Raj Singh take the tough decision of leaving her hometown, Aligarh, and moving to Faridabad a decade back. The 26-year-old's decision paid off on Tuesday, as she became the first Indian woman pistol shooter to earn an Olympic quota place.

The Haryana shooter came up with a career-best performance - 486.6 (389 + 97.6) points -on way to clinching silver and 2012 London Olympic Games quota in 10m air pistol at the ongoing World Cup in Fort Benning, USA.

She also became the fifth Indian shooter after Gagan Narang, Hariom Singh, Sanjeev Rajput and Ronjan Sodhi to earn an Olympic quota for the country.

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"I am really happy for Annu. Today we feel the decision to shift from Aligarh to Faridabad was right. Now, I want to see her win an Olympic medal," said Annu's mother Mera Singh.

Annu, an employee with Air India, had earlier won team gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and team silver at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last year.

With no proper shooting facility in Aligarh, Annu's father, SP Singh, a former national-level shooter and practicing dentist, decided to shift his family to Faridabad because of its proximity to the Karni Singh Shooting Ranges, while he stayed back.

"I wanted Annu to devote her entire time to shooting and that's why I too shifted to Faridabad, while my husband staying back. Whenever Annu is in the National camp or on international assignment, I go back to Aligarh," Mera told Hindustan Times from Aligarh.

Annu, who is supported by Olympic Gold Quest, picked up the sport in 1998 and has, on and off, been part of the national squad since 2004. "This is a great achievement for Annu. After Sanjeev Rajput, Annu has become the second shooter from Haryana to win an Olympic quota and this is testimony to the growing stature of Haryana shooting," said Deep Bhatia, the Haryana Rifle Shooting Association secretary general.