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Meet the accidental shooter who beat China's best!

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 27, 2023 18:11 IST
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On parents' advice gold medallist Sift Kaur Samra switch field from medicine to shooting

Sift Kaur Samra

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Sift Kaur Samra/X

Both fields demand precision of highest order from the practitioner but in March this year, Sift Kaur Samra took a decision that picking up a rifle is better career option than choosing to use a scalpel.

It was an inspired call. The 23-year-old, dropped from her MBBS course to concentrate on full-time shooting. And on Wednesday, the decision seemed to be a complete 'Bulls Eye' as she won the gold medal in the women's 50m 3P event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.

Samra was juggling between her MBBS studies at the GGS Medical College (in Faridkot) and shooting but ultimately decided to change her course.

"I dropped out from MBBS in March. I am currently doing Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports from GNDU in Amritsar," Samra said after winning a historic Asian Games gold in women's 50m rifle 3P event with a world record score.

Sift Kaur Samra

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Team India/X

In India, the trend in middle-class and upper-middle class families normally is to see parents pushing their children to excel academically. But Samra was blessed to have parents who wanted to see her break records in the shooting range.

Asked why she left the MBBS course, she said, "I don't know. It is my parents' decision. That is not in my hands. I can't do anything. I can go for Civil Services also."

The 23-year-old from Faridkot in Punjab also said that she was an accidental shooter.

"That one was a mixed choice (choosing to be a shooter). I was an accidental shooter. A shotgun shooter, my cousin introduced me to shooting. My first state event went well and all my relatives told my parents that I should go for shooting. Luckily, it worked and I am a shooter now."

She said she started with 10m event and pursued 3P much later.

"I was in 10m event when I started in 2016-17 and 3P was like something I can qualify, so that we can import gun and my brother can also start it. I started 3P in 2019."

On beating world champion Zhang Qiongyue of China, who won the silver, Samra said, "I had the experience of competing against the Chinese players. They were there in the World University Games (earlier this year in Chengdu) and there I also won gold."

Samra did not initially know she created a world record on Wednesday but were told by her coaches.

"I also was looking at the scores for all the three sections. My standing is strong so I knew if I take the lead in first (prone), I can do very well. I knew I have to do very well in kneeling."

"In the first round, I wasn't that good during my first five shots. But others were also not doing well, so I thought I could recover."

Compatriot Ashi Chouksey threw away the silver medal as she fired a poor 8.9 in her last shot, but Samra felt things like this can happen any day.

"At the World University Games (in Chengdu, China, in August) me and Ashi had gold and silver, and now we have gold and bronze, so it's a good experience for us."

"I am still very happy for her to be a medallist. She felt very good while shooting in the final. She was focused on her technique and it was just one of those days."

Asked if she was nervous during her final shots, she replied in affirmative.

"A little bit, as it is the human body. I was focusing on the process. I was not focusing on the nervousness. I was focusing on the things that were in my hand, so that went great for me." 

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