Sports like shooting are considered elite. With the limited infrastructure and niche training academies, it isn’t something that many children aspire to do.
Yet 18-year-old Manisha Keer not only dreamt of it but has also made India proud by bagging the silver at the ISSF World Championship at Changwon in South Korea.
Until the age of 12, Manisha’s routine was to regularly accompany her father, Kailash Keer, a fisherman, to Bhopal’s Upper Lake. Here, father and daughter would fish, after which the catch would be taken to the local market for sale. Growing up in dire economic conditions, life was never easy for Manisha.
Raising seven kids was quite a challenge, shares Kailash, in an interview with The Times of India. He told the publication, “I have seven children, including four daughters. As a fisherman, I barely make enough to feed my family. Forget sports, it was not even possible to send my children to school.”
Visiting the Madhya Pradesh State Shooting Academy with her elder sister Soniya was truly a life-changing experience for Manisha. Their visit coincided with the shotgun trials at the academy.
As Manisha stood watching the trials, Olympian Mansher Singh approached her and asked her to give it a shot. With no prior training, Manisha hit the target in her first attempt. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since then, Manisha has been training extensively. At the recently concluded event in South Korea, Manisha finished with 41 points and thus equalled the Junior Record in Trap for women. In her short career span, this is yet another achievement she has added to her list.
An elated Kailash told The Times of India, “I don’t know the first thing about shooting. All I know is that she is bringing glory and she’s happy.”
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore also applauded Manisha’s achievement in a tweet, “Our young shooting champions are making the country proud at ISSF Shooting World Championship in Changwon.”
Our young shooting champions are making the country proud at @ISSF_Shooting World Championship in Changewon.
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) September 3, 2018
Stories like Manisha’s are inspirational on so many levels. Not only is it a testament of how hard work and grit pay off but also leave many aspiring sportspersons with the hope of making it big, no matter the sport and their struggles.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
Cover Photo: SHOOTING BY