Professional shooting is no cheap sport. The rifle alone costs lakhs of rupees and national-level shooters need to be ready to shell out a huge load of money to get ample practice to participate in top-notch competitive events. That is the stigma attached to sports that would have deterred many enthusiasts to take it up.
Not for this rickshaw driver from Ahmedabad.
Manilal Gohil spent Rs 5 lakh he had saved for his daughter’s marriage to instead buy a German rifle. Mittal, who is a national level shooter, lives in a chawl in the Gomtipur area of Ahmedabad and has been practicing shooting for four years.
When the father-daughter duo went to the local police commissioner to apply for a gun license, the authorities were surprised that a rickshaw driver had managed to purchase such an expensive gun, a TOI report said.
Police not only helped the family get the license but were all praise for Manilal’s efforts for his daughter.
“My father and my family have sacrificed a lot just to fulfill my expensive hobby. After getting this rifle I will work hard to participate in international level and represent our country,” says Mittal.
The aspiring shooter had earlier won a bronze medal at the National Championships, but with a rented rifle.
The passion of shooting germinated in Mittal from the days when she passed by the Rifle Club in Ahmedabad and there she saw some shooters in action.
Despite being short of money to afford such a hobby, her loving father took her to the rifle club where she was initially provided with a gun for rent.
In 2013, with little practice, Mittal participated in the 57th All-India National Shooting Championships and was accompanied by fellow shooters Anju Sharma and Lajja Goswami where she won a bronze medal.
Participating at a national championship acted as a big boost to her confidence, but Mittal found it hard to arrange for further training and travel without a rifle to her name.
It was then that her father and elder brother Jainish began arranging for the funds to buy her a 50-meter range German firearm.
While the rifle has been arranged now, Mittal still faces hurdles of purchasing bullets, which costs Rs. 31 each.
Mittal’s new rifle weighs 8 kg and to participate in any tournament, she needs to buy at least 1000 rounds.