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Patience And Persistence Bear Fruit for Shooter Amanpreet Singh

By: Amit Kumar

Edited By: Arnab Sen

News18 Sports

Last Updated: March 14, 2017, 13:28 IST

Indian shooter Amanpreet Singh (Courtesy: ISSF)

Indian shooter Amanpreet Singh (Courtesy: ISSF)

It took 21 World Cups for Amanpreet Singh to win a medal in the prestigious tournament but the Punjab shooter finally ended his long wait and tasted success at the ISSF World Cup 2017 on home soil.

New Delhi: It took 21 World Cups for Amanpreet Singh to win a medal in the prestigious tournament but the Punjab shooter finally ended his long wait and tasted success at the ISSF World Cup 2017 on home soil.

Amanpreet clinched a silver medal in the 50m pistol event at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range. The event also saw the ace shooter Jitu Rai winning the Gold medal in the tournament.

"The wait was too long," Amanpeet Singh told News18.com in an exclusive interview.

"I am shooting for 16 years and this was my 21st World Cup and my first medal in a World Cup," Amanpreet said.

Amanpreet was leading the eight-man final field with a score of 98.9. With the help of two consecutive shots of 10.6, the Punjab shooter extended his domination over his senior shooter Jitu.

Before the final two shots, Jitu was still 0.3 points behind Amanpreet. But, this is where experience counts. Jitu shot 10.0 and 10.5 to clinch the gold, while Amanpreet could muster only 8.8 and 8.2 and had to settle for silver.

"I was leading till the 22nd shot in the final. The last two shots were bad and I slipped to second. This is what you call experience. I gave up but Jitu didn't. He is a senior and experienced shooter. He knows how to handle pressure and perform in such situations. I am really happy for him and about my performance too. He has performed in many finals and given India several medals," Amanpreet, who topped the 50m pistol qualification, said.

Hailing from Phillaur village in Punjab, Amanpreet got emotional and had a lump in his throat when he spoke about the hero behind his success – his father.

"I am from a middle class family. My father used to save money for my weapon and pellets. He skipped meals but always took care of my diet. We had two buffaloes in my village. My father sold one of those to buy me a pistol because he wanted to see me live my dream. He sacrificed his sleep and food to help me become a shooter," an emotional Amanpreet said.

"I still remember he paid Rs 46,000 for that pistol. I still have that pistol with me."

"My father used to work in Punjab Police. He wanted me to represent India someday and win a medal for country. He has a national medal in shooting," Amanpreet, who opted for shooting as a 12-year-old, said.

On being asked about his father’s reaction after his medal-winning performance at the World Cup, Amanpreet said: "When I came home, he was the first one to rush and hug me. His eyes were moist. I could feel how happy he was. It was a proud moment for me."

Amanpreet shot 561 in the final. In the process, he bettered his previous best of 560, which he achieved during the 2010 Commonwealth Championship, breaking the 16-year long record of veteran shooter Jaspal Rana.

"For me, this was my first final and may be lack of experience cost me the first place. I was leading from the beginning. I just wanted to maintain the lead and was taking one shot at one time," he said.

Amanpreet participated in his maiden World Cup in 2007 in United States which was also the Olympic qualifying tournament for the Beijing Games 2008. He recalls how he narrowly missed the bus.

"I played my maiden World Cup in 2007 in United States. The World Cup was also slated as Olympic qualifiers for Beijing Games in 2008. It was one of my best performances. I could book my Beijing berth but missed by one point," Amanpreet recalled.

"A shooter from Italy, who was also a World Champion, and I had shot the same scores. At that time, the last 10 series used to decide the result. He shot 99 and I had 98. I missed the Olympic berth by one point. That was a big disappointment but I didn’t give up."

"I would have been a part of that Olympics where Abhinav Bindra won the Gold medal," the shooter said.

Amanpreet, who is designated as a security officer with ONGC since 2014, credited senior shooters Samresh Jung and Ved Prakash for his success.

"I have won several medals at district level, pre-Nationals and Nationals. Slowly and gradually, I improved my game and reached the senior level. Senior shooters Samresh Jung and Ved Prakash have helped me a lot. Their guidance has helped me reach at this level," the shooter said.

After World Cup triumph, Amanpreet has just one aim – an Olympic medal.

"Every sportsperson dreams to represent his country at Olympics. I also want to reach that level," a confident Amanpreet said.

"I have three years with me. It is a decent time for me. I have to work hard and prepare for my next World Cup (Munich) in May and World Cup finals. World Championships is scheduled next year and then Olympic qualifiers. It is a long journey for me and I want to enjoy every bit of it. Olympic is my main target and I am confident of reaching that stage," the shooter signed off.

first published:March 14, 2017, 12:16 IST
last updated:March 14, 2017, 13:28 IST