At the South Asian Games in Kathmandu, promising shooter Mehuli Ghosh, 19, stunned the industry with her recent performance as she won gold in the 10m air rifle event on Tuesday. Mehuli stole the limelight, and was completely dominating as she finished with the top podium finish with an exceptional score of 253.3.

Indian shooters took home nine medals, which consisted of four gold medals at the South Asian Games. Mehuli Ghosh led the Indian shooting team, she scored 0.4 points more than the world record of 252.9, which is held by another Indian, Apurvi Chandela. Chandela achieved this feat at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup to clinch the gold medal in February 2019.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mehuli Ghosh wins gold in the 10m air rifle event at the on-going South Asian Games in Kathmandu.
  • She surpassed the previous record held by another Indian, Apurvi Chandela, which she had achieved at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup to clinch the gold medal in February 2019. 
  • Mehuli outclassed her senior’s record score, thus creating a new unofficial world record as the results of the South Asian Games aren’t recognised by the ISSF for maintaining records.

Mehuli outclassed her senior’s record score, thus creating a new world record but the results of the South Asian Games aren’t recognised by the ISSF for maintaining records so Mehuli’s record would be counted as an unofficial score. “As far as I understand, SAG results will not be recognised for record purposes. Only the results of World Cups, World Championships and quota events are considered for record purposes by the ISSF. Moreover, there will have to be an ISSF referee in an event if the results are to be considered for records,” a top NRAI official told PTI.

Compatriots Shriyanka Sadangi and Shreya Agrawal settled for the silver and bronze medals with scores 250.8 and 227.2 respectively while also winning the team gold for the same.

Mehuli, the silver medallist in the World Championships last year and in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Youth Olympics, also won the senior women’s 10m air rifle with a score of 252 in September this year. She surpassed the score of Madhya Pradesh’s Shreya Agrawal who finished with 251.2 to earn second place. Another stellar shooter and world number one Apurvi Chandela of Rajasthan shot 229.3 to finish third.

Coping with the challenges

Earlier talking about how she copes with challenges, the 19-year-old went on to speak about the difficulties she faces shooting under pressure saying, “Yes, it (pressure) has been mounting, especially recently. But then at the end of the day even if I get tired, I ask myself why have I started all this and consider all the efforts that I have put in to reach here. Breaking records, of course feels good but then benchmarks are set to be broken,” Sportstar reported.

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Earlier this year, Mehuli broke the national record in International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Beijing. While competing in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category, she scored 632.2 to shoot her personal best at World Cups – the best qualification score among Indians. She also won the Youth Olympic Games silver medal. Mehuli won the women’s junior (under-21) 10m air rifle gold in the Khelo India Youth Games. She delivered a shooting score of 629.4 in the qualification.

She surpassed the previous record held by another Indian, Apurvi Chandela, which she had achieved at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup to clinch the gold medal in February 2019

Last year, the newbie, a bronze medallist in her maiden ISSF World Cup outing in Mexico, bagged silver at CWG. Ghosh (17) was a debutant who missed the gold by a whisker, in the women’s 10m air rifle event.

Also Read: Does India take its sportswomen seriously?

Swimming was Mehuli’s first love

Mehuli was very young when an accident forced her to quit swimming. “I had a liking for action movies right from my childhood. I came to know about the sport of shooting from a school friend who had started training at a rifle range nearby. I came and told my parents, but they started explaining about how expensive the sport was. I took my enquiries further and then came to know that the club – Serampore Rifle Club – provided all the equipment to its trainees. I convinced my parents to let me join the training,” said Mehuli adding that’s why she decided to take up shooting as a young 13-year-old, Sportstar reported.

“She showed her talent in every sport she tried and that gave us the confidence that she will do well in shooting, too. She did well in karate and was a very good Kathak dancer and used to regularly perform in many stage shows,” says her mother, Mitali.

“It is only once you decide to take shooting professionally that the one gets to know the expenditure as you need to buy your own rifle and the necessary pair of jacket-trousers. I guess it is the same with games like cricket and golf, where you need your own kits,” says Mehuli.

Mehuli outclassed her senior’s record score, thus creating a new world record but the results of the South Asian Games aren’t recognised by the ISSF for maintaining records so Mehuli’s record would be counted as an unofficial score.

“Her determination and zeal were quite impressive. We got some funds together and constructed a temporary shooting range on the roof of our house in Baidyabati. I got tarpaulins and iron rods from the market and had a makeshift range built for her to practise extra hours,” says Mehuli’s father Nimai, a state government employee. “She used to shoot till 1.30 in the morning and we did the assistant’s job, changing the cards which work as the target.

Feature Image credit: India Today

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