Sep 4, 2003

Impressive and Inspirational were two words that kept springing to mind after I watched this week's episode of Harsha Unplugged (which has moved to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, allaying these fears). Featuring ace shooter and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat, the episode highlighted once again the fact that there is more to Indian sport that we know.

The highly forthright, articulate and Marathi accented lady spoke on a lot of issues: how she started off in the sport, how the lack of infrastructure in India hurts sportspeople, what avenues exist to qualify for the Olympics (she has already qualified for next year's Games), what a rifle actually feels like, how heavy it is, how intensely technical the sport is (apparently, shooters try to eat very little before a match, otherwise the increased pulse rate affects how steady the shooter is), how close the competition is (differences are measured on the right hand side of the decimal point) internationally and so on. I knew she had been World No. 1 (right now she's Number 5), but didn't know that she's won a competition called Champion of Champions, which brings together both top men and women shooters for a mixed contest: quite an honour for the petite-looking but rather spirited achiever who began her career in the NCC.

I found her candour, her obvious desire to do well at the highest level, her attitude (she seemed very comfortable with her talent and pleased with her performances) very refreshing: she has done a lot to bring positive attention to this rather anonymous sport in India (along with Jaspal Rana). She obviously has a lot to offer and this highly talented lady is one of our best hopes at the Athens Games next year.

I've joined the ranks of her admirers and will follow her career more closely from now: wishing her a lot of luck and success.

No comments: