Esha Singh, a 14-year-old, is a new name in the shooting fraternity and yet she has already created a niche for herself among legends. The pistol shooter from Hyderabad displayed great form and won silver at the women’s 10-metre air pistol competition at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior (U-21) World Cup campaign in Suhl, Germany.

The gold went to reigning champion Sevval Ilayda Tarhan of Turkey, with a score of 241.8, with Singh scoring a 236.6. Yasemin Beyza Yilmaz of Turkey won the bronze with a score of 215.4.

With this win, Esha clinched the maiden international medal and for the young sportsperson stopping is not an option.

Last year, the new shooting prodigy was felicitated as the national champion, after she bettered India’s best—Heena Sidhu and Manu Bhaker to win three gold medals at the 62nd National Shooting Championships. Esha from Telangana won the Women’s, Youth Women’s and Junior Women’s 10m Air Pistol competitions.

Her father, Sachin Singh, is a former rally driver. “While growing up, all I would see and hear was bikes and cars with my father competing in various rallies. He made me try go-carting initially, but I did not find it exciting. But when I went to a range for the first time, I liked the idea of pistol shooting and my father told me it’s like driving a car. Winning the senior national title is like winning a rally and I could see the same kind of adrenalin rush in my father’s eyes when I won. He left rallying to support me and this medal is for him,” Esha had told The Indian Express.

“I was just concentrating on shooting consistently. Manu is a friend of mine and she congratulated me after the final. All we like to discuss in our free time is shooting,” shared Esha, a student of Bolton School in Hyderabad.

Read: Look Beyond Cricket, Our Sportswomen Are Winning Golds!

When she was eight, Esha tried her hand at go-karting and badminton before choosing the extraordinary route to shooting in 2014. She is training under London bronze medallist Gagan Narang’s Gun For Glory Academy. While Esha finished 35th out of 254 shooters in the senior category and 18th among the juniors at the nationals in 2017, she won a team silver medal in junior civilian category apart from the mixed team event bronze medal.

“Esha’s first pistol cost Rs 70,000, almost double of what I spent on my first bike, and she would often tell me that her pistol is also like my bikes. When Esha showed a keen interest in shooting, we would travel to Pune for attending camps while her mother Srilatha would manage our sports shop. Later, we also built her a small range at home. It was like operating a car garage for me after I left rallying two years ago. Her three medals are the biggest gift for me,” said the proud father.

She became the youngest champion in the senior category in the women’s 10 m Air Pistol event at the Shooting Nationals in Kerala

Esha’s first coach in Pune was Hiren Jaiswal. “When she first came to train under me, she was like a normal 10-year-old. Normally, we start training at the age of 10 or 11 but we did not want to put pressure on her bones initially. We would make her train in a sitting position for 40-50 shots and aspects like sight adjustments were taught later, which she grasped quickly. Being the only daughter, she was a pampered kid and would throw tantrums initially,” Jaiswal recalled.

She started young and soon realised the importance of mental training. “I remember during the initial months, she had shoulder pain once. I told her that I will cast a magic spell with a pencil and the pain will go away (Laughs). Her strength has been consistency and that’s what she showed in the final,” shared the 32-year-old coach.

Way to go, Esha!

Feature Image Credit : The Indian Express

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