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From fishing with father to World Championships silver, Manisha Keer is a champion

From fishing with father to World Championships silver, Manisha Keer is a champion

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Published: 3 Sep 2018 9:21 AM GMT
In 2016, a 15-year-old Manisha Keer won the Junior Shotgun Cup held in Finland. This was only her second tournament abroad but it did spell the kind of talent that this young child held. In the past few years, we have seen several youngsters rule Indian shooting in both the junior and the senior circuits. At a time when names like Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh, Anish Bhanwala and Saurabh Chaudhary have displayed remarkable consistency on the world stage, a silver medal winning performance by Manisha Keer today has ensured that she will soon be added to the list of young forces to reckon with when it comes to Indian shooting.
India's outing at the ongoing World Championships in Changwon began on a good note earlier today after the women's team bagged a silver in the 10m team event. Ace shooters Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela finished second and fourth respectively to grab two Olympic quota spots for Tokyo 2020. It was the end of these heroics by our rifle shooters that a 17-year-old stepped up to represent the country in the women's Junior Trap finals. Image: Media SAI To say that Manisha’s life has been full of ups and downs that often define life, would be an understatement. A look at her background would establish that shooting was probably the last thing she expected to be associated with, let alone that shooting would one day make her a well known figure in Indian sports circles. According to a story by the
Times of India
previously, Manisha had a very different life up until the age of 12.
Her days were routine and monotonous. She would start her day by accompanying her father to Bhopal’s Upper Lake where the two of them would net fish. This would later be taken down to the markets where her father, Kailash Keer, would sell them. This was how the family sustained itself. One of the things that is always associated with sport shooting is that the equipment and training facilities are often quite expensive. Given the kind of family earning that Manisha rose from and keeping in mind the high cost of the sport, shooting was probably the last thing on her mind.

The determination and resilience that mattered

Things changed when her elder sister Soniya took her to the Madhya Pradesh State Shooting Academy. As the story goes, shotgun trials were being conducted and Manisha had always been fascinated by them. Miraculously, she was spotted by Olympian Mansher Singh, a coach who was overseeing the proceedings at the trial. When she was asked by Singh to give it a try, Manisha, with no prior training it might be added, hit the target in a single try. “In 2013, I went for trials at the newly inaugurated stadium and got selected,” she was quoted as saying by TOI.
“I began training after which a few more shooters and I qualified for a national event. However, I couldn't make it to the Indian team in the first attempt since I came fifth.and lagged behind by a few points.” “Before the next national event, I trained quite hard and would practically spend the whole day at the academy with a firm motive of making it to the Indian team.” Today at the ISSF World Championships, Manisha bagged the silver but it took a shoot-off to determine the top two medals - things were that close. She finished with 41 points and thus equaled the Junior Record in Trap for women - yet another landmark that she has achieved in her short career. NRAI’s junior level program as well as the scouting program of Madhya Pradesh Sports deserve equal credit for identifying and honing a talent like Manisha Keer. She definitely has a bright future ahead of her.
Also Read: Anjum Moudgil wins silver; India grabs two Olympic quota places
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