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Balewadi’s golden girl at Asian Games: Rahi Sarnobat bang on target

Kolhapur-born shooter, who moved base to Pune’s Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi a few years back, is now India’s first woman shooter to win an Asian Games gold

pune Updated: Aug 23, 2018 15:04 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Rahi,Sarnobat,Asian games
India's Rahi Jeevan Sarnobat, display the national flag during the award ceremony for the final round of the 25m pistol women's shooting event at the 18th Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia, on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018. (AP)

PUNE There is a golden hue around Balewadi - the after-burn of the immaculate accuracy of female shooters living and training in the area is bringing the medals.

After the silverware at the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games, it is now the gold medal at the ongoing Asian Games in Indonesia - Rahi Sarnobat was bang on target on Wednesday.

The Kolhapur-born shooter, who moved base to Pune’s Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex in Balewadi a few years back, is now India’s first woman shooter to win an Asian Games gold

For Sarnobat, Balewadi is where the magic all began. She won her first international gold medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games here in 2008.

Sarnobat moved lock, stock and smoking barrel to Balewadi after Olympian shooter Gagan Narang opened his shooting academy – Gun For Glory (GFG) - here in 2011.

“Sarnobat trained with us for three years. Unfortunately, an injury in 2015 affected her chances for the Olympics. She was forced to take a break for almost a year. Now she has made a tremendous comeback. This medal was quite necessary to boost her morale and her confidence ahead of bigger tournaments this year,” said Pawan Singh, director of GFG.

“Even though she has created history, she hasn’t hit peak performance yet. Before the injury, her personal best score was 582 and she is still to reach that level. She is required to improve her fitness and her game and must target at least 584-585, before the World Championships in Korea from August 31,” he added.

At Sarnobat’s house in Balewadi, next to the stadium, the sore does not matter right now. It is sheer delight and jubilation.

“She worked really hard to overcome her injury. Now she has achieved what she was aiming for and we are happy to see her back on the podium,” said her brother Aditya Sarnobat.

First Published: Aug 22, 2018 17:19 IST