Extraordinarily, shooting has contributed more than half of India's gold medals so far.
With a remarkable display of zen-like focus, laser-sharp precision and unwavering determination, Indian shooters hit the bullseye at the ongoing Asian Games. The Hangzhou edition will undoubtedly be etched in history as a pivotal moment for Indian shooting. It not only stands out as the most productive edition in terms of both quality and quantity but also underscores India's prowess across all shooting disciplines — rifle, pistol, and shotgun. Extraordinarily, shooting has contributed more than half of India's gold medals so far.
A gold medal in the Trap team event capped off the fabulous show as Indian shooters completed their rich haul with 22 medals — seven gold, nine silver, and six bronze. To provide some context, India's previous best was 14 medals, achieved during the 2006 Doha edition of the Games. Comparatively, in the 2018 Asian Games, shooters clinched nine medals. This upward trajectory underscores the relentless efforts and the comprehensive support system that has propelled the sport to new heights.
In a way, the Asian Games tally was a redemption of sorts for the shooting contingent, who drew a blank at the 2020 Olympics. The Tokyo debacle had forced the authorities to inject a lot of young blood. Esha Singh, Sift Kaur Samra, Ramita Singh, Rudrankksh Patil, Mehuli Ghosh and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar embody the spirit of the new generation that has shown immense potential.
What stood out in the campaign in Hangzhou was their collective dominance in team events. Out of the seven gold medals, a staggering six came in team events. The ability to come together as a cohesive unit and deliver under pressure bodes well for the future with just under a year to go for the Paris Games.
In a sport where victory often hinges on the slimmest of margins, achieving excellence necessitates the perfect harmony of mind, body and cutting-edge technology. Abhinav Bindra, the first and only Olympic gold medallist in shooting, stands as a prime example of an athlete who harnessed scientific methodologies to overcome the odds. Bindra underwent brain mapping at a laboratory in South Africa to replicate an optimal mental state and collaborated with a deep-sea diver to enhance his breathing techniques.
With more emphasis on scientific training with state-of-the-art technology, young Indian shooters have the potential to emerge as a formidable force on the global stage.