I am an Olympic level professional rifle shooter with a career spanned over thirty one gold, twenty three silver and seven bronze medals, along with a lot of hard work and perseverance. Though I am a dedicated shooter today, I discovered the sport by pure accident, or let`s say by chance.
I belong to a Mumbai based Marathi family with my mother singing for the AIR ( All India Radio) , I have two siblings, a younger brother and an elder sister. Despite of belonging to a musical background, I was always energetic and more inclined towards sports and physical activities as a child, although I do share my love for music with my family. I was a part of the kabaddi team for my school and have also learned judo karate. As I grew up, I joined Kirti College, Mumbai, which was famous for it`s active participation in the NCC( National Cadet Corps.)
I still had no exposure to the sport of shooting back then. Through NCC, I participated in mountaineering and similar activities. It so happened that some of my mates from NCC, who were shooters, had their finals and the National Championship announced at the same time, and since they couldn`t make it to the championship, I was selected as a replacement. It took me a mere three to four days to realize that rifle shooting was exactly what I wanted to do. I went on to win a silver medal in the National Championship of 1988.
Then, I started to practice shooting with a new founded seriousness, but the conditions in the country were still very unprofessional and I had no indoor shooting range or proper weapons for myself to practice with. It went on like this for the next ten years until 1998, when the Sports Ministry of India appointed an international coach for the shooting team. This appointment of a coach skyrocketed our practice and within the next three months, I participated in the Auckland Commonwealth Championship in 1999, where I achieved my first international gold medals. Later on, I was introduced as a wild card entry for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I trained all by myself from the period 2001 to 2004 and yet managed to become World Number One in 2002. Over the span of my career, I`ve seen a lot of ups and downs, but with the support of my family and the rigorous training by my coaches, along with timely sponsorships and my own determination, I have emerged as one of the finest rifle shooters representing India.
Today, I have my very own shooting academy in the city of Pune, where I train youngsters and have over thirty national level shooters. But the one thing,that I have learnt from all my experiences till date, is that accidents, chance or unexpected events can lead to greater things and with perseverance and focus, one can manage to achieve all that he or she wants in life.