Farmer's daughter from Saurabh Chaudhary's academy wins gold at National Games
Yuvika Tomar, who won the Women's 10m Air Pistol gold, is the second student from the academy which produced Saurabh Chaudhary to shoot to fame. The only girl at the academy, the 21-year-old has always needed to be lion-hearted to make her mark.
Ahmedabad: Uttar Pradesh's Yuvika Tomar stepped up when it mattered to bag the gold medal in Women's 10m Air Pistol at the ongoing National Games here.
Tomar had finished as the second-best behind the eventual silver medallist Rhythm Sangwan, in both the qualification round and the final stage earlier in the day.
"It was a good win today. I am very happy with my performance," Tomar said right after her win.
She will now travel to Cairo, Egypt to compete at the upcoming 2022 ISSF Shooting World Championships later this month.
"The target now is to do my best at the World Championships. I just need to focus on my technique and I am sure I will do well," she said.
"Ye sab ke baare mein jyada nahi sochti (I do not think a lot about these things)," a poker-faced Tomar added when enquired about the 2024 Paris Olympics quota on offer at the World Championships.
Yuvika Tomar took up shooting seriously only in 2018 in a bid to get a government job. The youngster was encouraged into the sport by her family including a paralysed father.
"I took up shooting in 2017. But my father suffered from paralysis just months later. I had to drop off the sport for some time, but my family asked me to keep going," she said.
Hailing from an agricultural background, playing an expensive sport like shooting was tough, especially after her father's paralysis. But, this is where Yuvika's family stepped up.
"My brother works in the farm now. They took a loan so that I could buy a pistol and continue shooting after my father was bedridden," an emotional Tomar stated.
Yuvika trains at the Binauli Shooting Range in Baraut, Uttar Pradesh. Just at a distance of 5 minutes from her house, this is the same place from where the shooter and 2020 Tokyo Olympian Saurabh Chaudhary shot his way to fame.
Tomar is the only girl, who trains at the Binauli Shooting range under coach Amit Sheoran.
"From 2009 – the time I started the academy, till 2018, I never took in any girl as a student," coach Sheoran told The Bridge in a telephonic conversation.
"Yuvika was the first one and right now she is the only girl, I have in the academy," the coach added.
Tomar approached Sheoran for the first time in 2018, after her father's unfortunate medical condition. The coach was hesitant at first but finally gave in.
"Usne bola muje karna hai toh yahi karna hai, varna shooting bandh (She said if she has to continue shooting it has to be from here, else she'll leave the sport)," Sheoran chuckled.
"I was concerned about how will she manage such an expensive sport. But, she somehow managed to convince me to give her a chance. Once I saw her shoot, I knew she has it in her," he added.
Back then Yuvika used to shoot in the early to mid-540s – a figure which has now gone up till the late 570s and occasionally in the 580s.
In fact, she shot 578 in the qualification round at the Ahmedabad Military and Rifle Training Association to seal her berth in the top eight.
"Jab apna koi baccha accha karta hai tab accha hi mahoos hota hai…Saurabh ke baad ab meri dusri student accha kar rhi h (When any of your students does well you feel on top of the world….Yuvika is my second student after Saurabh, who has done so well)," Sheoran beamed with pride.
But, he refuses to take any credit for his ward's success.
"It is all her hard work. She convinced me to take her in and after that, it is she who has put in all the work to improve. I am lucky that she asked me to train her," Sheoran said.
Despite her recent exploits, which includes a World Cup silver medal, Yuvika Tomar continues to toil without a sponsor. She is not a part of the TOPS scheme either.
"Nhi abhi tak toh me TOPS mein nahi hoon (I am not in TOPS until now). We have approached them and I know I will be included soon," Yuvika said.
She does not have any job either and manages the financial aspects by playing in private tournaments.
However, Amit Sheoran is not worried.
"Vo sherni hai (She is a lioness). She has achieved all this in very little time. Ye toh bas shuruat hai. Aap bas vishwas rakhiye (This is just a start. You just keep faith in her)," the coach advised.