India’s teenage shooting prodigy Manu Bhaker showed remarkable performance at 2019 ISSF World Cup on Thursday as she scripted history by bagging India’s first gold medal at the tournament this year in Women’s 10m Air Pistol. 17-year-old Manu shot a fantastic 244.7 in total to bag the top spot in her event. Thus, she fired her way to break the junior world record. Emerging triumphant, now the star shooter Manu also became only the second Indian shooter after Heena Sidhu to win a gold medal in Women’s 10m Air Pistol at the ISS World Cup. Zorana Arunovic of Serbia won the silver with 241.9, while Quian Wang of China took home the bronze with 221.8.

Manu Bhaker is an Asian Champion, a Youth Olympics  Champion and reigning Commonwealth Champion

Key Takeaways:

  • 17-year-old Manu Bhaker shot 244.7 to win the top spot in the women’s 10m air pistol. She won gold medal at the ISSF World Cup on Thursday.
  • Manu has already secured an Olympic quota at the Munich World Cup in May.
  • In the Women’s 10m Air Pistol, Manu also broker the junior world record with her score.
  • She became only the second Indian shooter after Heena Sidhu to win a gold medal in Women’s 10m Air Pistol at the ISS World Cup.

Earlier, the reigning Commonwealth Champion, gold-medallist Manu and Rahi Sarnobat failed to qualify for the finals of the women’s 25m air pistol event. Manu shot a disappointing 292 and 291 in the precision and rapid events respectively for a total of 583 in the qualifiers. She bowed out of the event.

READ: Why Manu Bhaker Banned Her Parents From Asian Games

Know more about Manu Bhaker

The pistol shooter, who hails from Goria village in Jhajjar, is one of India’s top young stars. She won multiple gold medals in her maiden senior World Cup, Commonwealth Games, besides clinching the top prize at the Youth Olympics last October.

Bhaker had become the first Indian shooter to win gold at the Youth Olympics. The prodigy went on to bag the women’s 10m air pistol gold medal at the CWG 2018 too. Prior to that, at her maiden senior World Cup, she stunned the entire fraternity with her pistol shooting skill. She won the women’s air pistol gold at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, becoming the youngest Indian to win a gold medal at the event.

Manu secured India’s second individual gold at the ISSF Junior World Cup. She captured two gold medals — in individual and team events.

Why shooting

Coming from a state which has been home to various sporting talents the country boasts of, Manu too since her school days experimented with various sports forms. From volleyball, the interest shifted to Thang Ta, a popular martial art based in Manipur.

Manu juggled with other sports like Huyen Langlon, another Manipuri martial art, as well as boxing, tennis, and skating till she was 14. She went on to win medals at the National Games in these events. Shooting for her, happened accidentally when one day at her school’s shooting range court, she casually took up a gun and shot a straight 7.5.

Family as backbone

Manu’s father, Ram Kishan Bhaker, works as a chief engineer in the Merchant Navy whilst her mother Sumedha is an ex-school teacher. In fact, while her home state is notorious for gender inequality, Manu’s family runs a Universal school, which is a space where interested students, above class five of either gender, can take up shooting.

The pistol shooter, who hails from Goria village in Jhajjar, is one of India’s top young stars. She won multiple gold medals in her maiden senior World Cup, Commonwealth Games, besides clinching the top prize at the Youth Olympics last October.

Road to Tokyo

Talking about securing the Olympic quota, she said, “It feels very good, but the quota is not on my name. It is for the country. I need to work hard to manage my ranking.”

“Yes, obviously (I am looking forward to the Olympics). My dad will take care of that (college admissions). I want to get into Delhi University, but attendance and their examination schedules are an issue. They always clash with major competitions,” she said.

Stress is the key

“I don’t think about my weaknesses. I always work on them and improve. A lot of people around me are very positive. I have many good friends and my family too supports me. It helps me stay focused,” she said.

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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