Chandro Tomar, one half of famous ‘shooter dadis’, dies after Covid
Those who have seen ‘shooter dadis’—Chandro Tomar and Prakashi Tomar—compete in the national championships vouch for their seriousness and how they encouraged young shooters in their affable tone.
“Dar kyon lag raha hai tane, bas sight mila samay pe aur chala (What is there to fear, just aim timely and squeeze the trigger,” they would advise nervous shooters before competitions.
They would bring along kids to the shooting range; their parents wanted them to accompany the two dadis. Many girls took to shooting in Baghpat, Meerut and adjoining areas of western Uttar Pradesh inspired by them.
It was a sad day for the shooting community on Friday as Chandro Tomar, 89, died after battling Covid-19 in a Meerut hospital. Their extraordinary exploits even inspired a Bollywood film “Saand Ki Aankh” (bullseye).
"Mera saath chhoot gaya, Chandro kaha chali gayi (She has left me, where has Chandro gone?)” her sister-in-law Prakashi Tomar tweeted.
Prakashi’s daughter and Chadro Tomar’s niece, Seema Tomar, shot to fame when she won the ISSF World Cup silver in the trap event. Seema mourned her loss.
“She was an inspiration for us, especially for so many girls here who took up the sport after seeing them,” said Seema.
Chandro was a late bloomer. She started shooting at 65 at Johri Rifle Club, started by renowned coach Dr. Rajpal Singh. She used to accompany her granddaughter Shefali and was drawn to shooter.
“She used to bring her granddaughter and got interested,” said coach Farukh Pathan, who was then a trainer at the Johri centre.
“She was inquisitive and we asked her “why don’t you try”. She started and was good. The village atmosphere was such that she was a bit worried what people would think. We kept encouraging her. She won a medal in her first attempt in the north zone in 2000; there was no stopping. After a few days, Prakashi Tomar joined her and they became a great pair,” recalls Pathan.
Coach Deepak Dubey, who trains World No. 1 rifle shooter Divyansh Panwar, recalls Chandro and Prakashi at the national championships.
“When I was a shooter I often trained at the range in Johri. They were warm and encouraged us. “Tan buddha hota hai man nahin” (body gets old, not the heart), they would say. At the national championships, they participated in the veteran category. There were not many shooters in veteran, but the numbers have increased now. They had their unique way of making the tense atmosphere lively. They shared their life experiences and used to motivate young shooters,” he said.
Bhumi Pednekar, who portrayed the role of Chandro Tomar in the film, paid her tribute in a tweet: “Devastated by the news of Chandro Dadi’s demise. Feels like a part of me is gone. She made her own rules & paved the path for many girl to find their dream. Her legacy will live on in them. Condolences to the family. Am lucky I got to know and be her.”
“Unconsolable loss! Our beloved “Shooter Dadi” is no more! Chandro Tomar, the epitome of courage and determination for many (Sand Ki Ankh fame) breathed her last fighting Corona. May her undying spirit inspire 1000 of girls to take up sports from the remotest parts!” tweeted Olympian Joydeep Karmakar.