Vinita Bhardwaj of Chandigarh beat world number one Yi Siling of China, in the women’s 10m air rifle event to clinch gold at the World University Shooting Championship in Poland. The 22-year-old overcame several odds, including a club foot, to achieve this feat.
Vinita is a psychology student at Punjab University. Born with a club foot, she had to do undergo four surgeries in the last eight years. Even though it was difficult for her to stand in the shooting range for more than two hours, she decided to take up shooting seriously in 2008 under the guidance of her coach, Deepak Dubey. The daughter of an army officer, Col S K Bhardwaj, Vinita was rejected by the Mission Olympics Programme of the Indian Army because of the condition of her foot.
This only egged her on to continue training and participating in numerous international shooting championships.
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She told The Times of India, “Participating in international meets like the Shooting Hopes Championship and Junior World Cup in Germany in 2011 boosted my confidence. I also learnt to adjust to different weather conditions.”
The cold weather in Poland made her foot swell during the competition and she had to take medicines to bear the pain. What makes her victory even more laudable is the fact that Vinita had to compete against the skilful Yi Siling, who won the gold at the 2012 London Olympics and bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Vinita shot a score of 206.0 during the finals while Siling finished with a score of 205.6.
Apart from Vinita’s gold, India also secured four other gold medals, two silver and one bronze medals. Know more about the World University Shooting Championship here.