Top gun Esha Singh thanks Khelo India Games for propelling her
HYDERABAD: Telangana's Esha Singh might have already emerged as one of India's future shooting hopes but she can never forget where it all began.
"As a 9-year-old, I used to accompany my father (Sachin Singh) and his friend Gautam to the shooting range in Gachibowli," said Esha, fresh from her exploits in the ISSF Junior World Cup in Suhl (Germany).
"I loved the shotgun and the rifle but they were too heavy for me," she laughed.
"So, I opted for the much-lighter pistol. It was love at first sight. My romance with it began there and then itself."
Esha didn't have to wait too long for her high point, though. "I was barely 15 when I was handed the honour of being the flag-bearer of my State in the Khelo India Games. So, Pune 2019 will always have a special place in my heart," she said.
She, of course, won a gold medal in the 10m air pistol event and a silver in the 10m team event, making it even more memorable.
Now, 17 years old and preparing for the Team India trials, she is thankful to the Khelo Games for propelling her career. "It is a perfect platform for athletes to showcase their talent. One not only gets recognition here but it also helps in building one's confidence for the big events," she said.
And Esha is clearly set for the big ones. She has already competed in four Junior World Cups, returning with her best haul in the recent one in Suhl (Germany). She won three gold medals.
"This World Cup was the most challenging one because it was very cold in Suhl. For the first time, I got a chance to compete with Saurabh Chaudhary in the mixed pairs in the 10m event and we triumphed. As a team, we also excelled in the women's 10m (with Manu Bhaker and Palak) and 25 metres event (with Manu and Rhythm Sangwan)," she pointed out.
Esha has now set her eyes on the 2024 Paris Olympics. "With the Asian Games postponed and shooting events being removed from this year's Commonwealth Games, I am focussing on the Paris Olympics in 2024. I know it takes a lot of effort to get there (winning a gold) But I'm willing to put that effort."
The young shooter's first big moment came in the 2018 Senior Nationals in Kerala, where she won seven medals, even beating the likes of Manu Bhaker and Heena Sidhu.
"That changed me completely. I don't feel nervous anymore," she added.