Ahmedabad: She might just be 14, but Tilottama Sen comes out as someone mature beyond her age both on and off the shooting range.
Competing for Karnataka at the ongoing 2022 National Games in Gujarat, Sen caught the imagination of the fans with a brilliant score of 633.6 in the Women's 10m Air Rifle qualification round on Thursday. It was a whopping 4.3 points more than the second-placed Sriyanka Sadangi and way ahead of the experienced Elavenil Valarivan and Mehuli Ghosh.
Though the final round did not pan out the way Tilottama would have wanted, finishing second best to Olympian Valarivan, the youngster did give her senior counterparts a run for their money at the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association.
"I am pretty happy with the performance. There was a point in the competition wherein I was tied exactly 241.0 with both Elavenil and Mehuli with just 2 more shots left, but I am pretty happy with the way I responded," Tilottama said to The Bridge after bagging the silver medal.
Two shots after all three of them were tied at 241.0, Tilotamma along with Elavenil moved into the gold medal match, while Mehuli exited with a bronze in her bag.
Tilotamma, who led the final for a major chunk of time, is quick to point out how she could have done better in the 16-point gold medal contest against Elavenil Valarivan.
"Yeah, definitely disappointed with that period of play against her in the gold medal match. It is something I need to work on," she said.
During the gold medal match, it was not only Elavenil that Tilottama was up against. She also had to tackle a very noisy home crowd of 35-odd people egging on her opponent.
"It was good to see so many people in the range. The noise every time she (Elavenil) got better of me was crazy. Thankfully, I was not affected by it very much," Sen stated.
When an athlete knows he or she is up against world-class opponents, it is natural to have some sleepless nights. But, not if you are Tilottama Sen.
"I was not very excited. I just knew I had a job in hand and need to take it one shot at a time. I had a very good night's sleep and that definitely helped even in shutting off the crowd to an extent," she giggled.
The daughter of an IT professional in Bengaluru will now fly to Cairo, Egypt for the 2022 ISSF World Junior Shooting Championships next month.
"This performance will give me a lot of confidence. If I can perform at the senior level, I should be able to do it in the Junior World Championships," she said.
"I have been preparing for it for the last one month and I am confident of returning from Egypt with multiple medals," Tilottama added.