Can Adriyan Karmakar go one better than his Olympian father Joydeep?
Adriyan Karmakar clinched the gold medal at the Khel India Youth Games 2022 in the 50m Rifle 3 position category.
His father had just missed out on an Olympics bronze in the 50 metres rifle prone event in London 2012 and is currently the chief rifle coach of the Indian shooting team. Adriyan Karmakar, the 17-year-old son of Joydeep Karmakar however, showed no signs of that pressure when he took to the M.P Shooting Academy ranges in Bhopal, to emerge victorious in the tough 50m Rifle 3 Positions (3P) Boys competition at the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 Madhya Pradesh (KIYG2022MP).
He got the better of Rajasthan's Manvendra Singh Shekhawat 16-12.
"The competition was lesser of a challenge today," he gushed after the competition ended. "As circumstances presented themselves, I had to eventually arrive at the range on a tractor and made it just two minutes before the reporting time."
Speaking about the pressure of being the son of such an accomplished rifle shooter, Adriyan had this to say, "Yes pressure will be there but to be honest with you, I have grown used to it. I now know how to separate my game from what people say. When I focus on my Shooting, I try to cut off myself from the real world,'' said the cherubic Adriyan.
The 17-year-old, a class XI student, had been creating ripples in the national shooting circles in recent times as last April, he finished with a gold in the national selection trials in the 50m rifle prone event.
Incidentally, Adriyan had initially taken to the sport in 10m air rifle and had been the youngest competitor to qualify for the national shooting championship quite a few years back, but has now gravitated to his father's event.
"I have been shooting well at the ongoing camp for national probables in New Delhi. Quite a few of us campers have taken leave from there to take part here, hence I expected it to be a competitive event in my first appearance at the Khelo India Games. It's a great platform for emerging athletes in my age group,'' Adriyan continued during the exclusive chat.
Incidentally, Adriyan had to hone his skills in the demanding 3P event in somewhat challenging conditions in his father's academy in Kolkata – which does not have a 50m range. ''Yes, I did a fair amount of dry training under my father's guidance at home. Switching between the three positions of kneeling, prone and standing – in quick succession after completing each segment – is quite a challenging job.
"To give you an example, there is a just a six-minute changeover between kneeling, where you get 20 shots, and prone and then again eight minutes before standing. I have certainly picked my father's brains on how to prepare the body for such a routine,'' said Adriyan, who seemed to possess a mature head on his young shoulders.
Adriyan was barely seven when Joydeep, who was then at the peak of his prowess and landed a silver at the 2010 ISSF World Cup, missed out on a bronze by a whisker in the Olympics. Joydeep's saga surfaces during every Olympics since then as one of India's memorable fourth place heartbreaks, but he had moved on to emerge as one of the country's go-to shooting coaches.
"I remember a bit about it but he has done his best. My interest in the sport grew somewhat naturally as I have travelled with my father a lot when he was playing in competitions within the country and abroad. The addiction grew gradually and when I was about 12-13 years old and could hold a rifle, I had made up by mind,'' he said.
Looking ahead, Adriyan said his immediate goal is to earn a place in the national team for the Junior World Cup and strive for medals at the international arena. Can he do one better than his father? Only time can tell.