Pournima Zanane, 42-year old former Indian air rifle shooter and coach, passed away in Pune on June 20, after battling cancer for almost two years. Condolences poured in for the international player from all over the shooting fraternity, mourning her death.

Zanane had been diagnosed with cancer in 2018, during the Nationals in Kerala, and had been undergoing intensive treatment since. Pawan Singh, joint secretary, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said, “Pournima was gritty and it was evident when she fought cancer despite getting to know about it at the fourth stage. It was the relapse she was fighting since past few months.”

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Remembering Zanane’s Career

Zanane was born in Nanded, Maharashtra, and shifted base to Mumbai to pursue a career in rifle shooting. She was a License ‘B’ coach certified by International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). She was due to get License ‘A’ very soon, Singh said.

A seasoned shooter, she had represented India several times at ISSF World Cups, Asian Championships, and Commonwealth Championships, The Indian Express reported. The Maharashtra government had also honoured her with the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Award. She was a national record holder in the 10m air rifle event. After her retirement in 2012, Zanane went on to coach accomplished names, including six-time world champion Austrian shooter Farnik Thomas. She also served as a coach to the Sri Lankan and South African teams.

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Condolences Pour In

NRAI mourned Zanane’s untimely demise in a statement that read: “The National Rifle Association of India condoles the untimely sad demise of our international shooter and a coach – Ms Pournima Chinmoy Zanane, at a very young age. Ms Pournima Zanane was an Air Rifle shooter and took part in many international competitions as Pournima Gawahne.”

Current national coach Deepali Deshpande, remembering Zanane who was her colleague, told The Times Of India, “She was way more mature than all her contemporaries and was one of the most intelligent shooters I have seen. She had her share of struggles throughout her life but she was a fighter.”

Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra condoled her death on Twitter saying, “RIP Pournima. You will be greatly missed.” Former rifleman Joy Karmakar also expressed his shock at the news, with a picture of the late shooter.

Tanvi Akhauri is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. 

Picture credit: Joydeep Karmakar/Twitter

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