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Asian Games

Asian Games: Carrying the royal legacy, shooter Rajeshwari Kumari mirrors father Raja Randhir Singh

Rajeshwari Kumar led the Indian women's trap team to a silver medal win at the Asian Games, exactly 41 years after his father, Raja Randhir Singh, won a silver in the men's team event.

Rajeshwari Kumari

Rajeshwari Kumari with father Raja Randhir Singh


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2 Oct 2023 11:17 AM GMT

For Indian trap shooter Rajeshwari Kumari, the stakes reached a whole new level on Sunday at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre.

Her aspiration? To emulate the achievements of her father, Raja Randhir Singh, who also happens to be the acting president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Deja vu

All eyes were on her as her father watched from the stands, exactly 41 years after he clinched Asian Games medals, all in front of his own father, Bhalindra Singh, who, at the time, presided over the Asian Games Federation, the predecessor of the Olympic Council of Asia.

History, it seems, had a sense of deja vu as Rajeshwari led the Indian women's trap team to a silver medal win on Sunday.

"The same thing happened in 1982. I won two medals at the Delhi Games (bronze in trap and silver in team trap). So history is repeating itself," said Randhir Singh, reminiscing about his own golden era.

For Rajeshwari, the pressure was tangible. "For me, the most pressurised competition is the Asian Games because my father also won a gold in the same competition (in the men's trap at Bangkok 1978)," she admitted.

Fighting illness

However, it wasn't all smooth sailing. Kumari had to overcome illness, shooting on the first day of the Games with a fever that had her operating below her best, resulting in an interim 16th place finish.

On that challenging day, her mother, Vinita sent a text message to Rajeshwari Kumari, a message of encouragement that seemed to work wonders: "Just imagine, you are standing on the podium, and your father is giving you a medal."

That motivational message ignited a fire within Kumari. On day two, she made a remarkable comeback, finishing the qualification round strongly with 24 out of a possible 25 points in the fifth and final round. Her parents watched on, beaming with pride.

Though she narrowly missed out on the individual final by three points, securing the 11th position after the second day of qualification, Kumari's performance contributed significantly to India's silver medal in the team event, alongside her teammates Manisha Keer and Preeti Rajak fulfilling her mother's dream.

Randhir Singh was equally elated, "I am very happy that she won (the silver medal), and I am very proud that she's won the medal for India. For me, (the emotion) is doubled because I'm the president."

As history repeats itself, the family continues to etch their name into the books of India's sporting success.

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