Not every sport in India gets its required share of attention. Neither does the sportsperson. The Commonwealth Games 2014 that were held in Glasgow got back many laurels to the country, in the so titled ‘less famous’ games. With 64 medals in total, the games are fetching the winners their much deserved appreciation.
Shreyasi Singh, a shooter from Delhi got back a silver medal for the country in the double trap event. Shooting that won back the maximum number of medals at the games this year, got the 22 year old getting candid with our correspondent Iresh Gupta. From being a student from the Delhi University’s Hans Raj College to going back in times when she started the game, Shreyasi also talks about the change in her techniques from the Commonwealth Games in 2010 to that now in 2014. Singh also discloses her interests for politics in the country apart from shooting.
Presenting to you, Shreyasi Singh in conversation with Iresh Gupta (Photographed by Mehr Gill)
Iresh: Hi Shreyasi. Many congratulations for this achievement. The nation is really proud. Now that you are back in Delhi, how does it feel?
Shreyasi: Hello Iresh. It feels great to be back here. Luckily these games got all good for the shooters. Our hard work paid off. I am sitting back now and enjoying the media attention a little. (laughs)
Iresh: So would you like to tell us more about yourself?
Shreyasi: I am born and brought up in Delhi though I have my roots back in the state of Bihar. I have done my schooling from Delhi Public School, R.K Puram and my graduation in Arts from Hans Raj College, Delhi University. I started shooting right after my Class 10 under Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who first encouraged me to hold the gun. Since then, I have been working continuously on my game and I believe that shooting defines my life.
Iresh: So Shreyasi how has Hans Raj College contributed to your game, shooting?
Shreyasi: Hans Raj College contributed in many ways. The college first of all had great facilities for the game. I spent my three years of college practicing and not attending classes. The best part about the college is that it has no attendance issues and it supports its sportspersons. M.P Sharma Sir, the sports teacher was always there for us and the principal also never failed to understand. Our internals were always rescheduled. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies much, so I failed my Philosophy exam thrice (laughs) but then Rachna Sharma ma’am, who passed away a few months back helped me with my exams too. Her presence is surely missed.
Iresh: And what are your views on the sports in the University itself?
Shreyasi: The opportunities are explored less. University has great sportspersons who have proved their metal in some game or the other. They are well trained but never tried. Like for example, the prestigious World University Games are held each year but the University never took the charge of sending us for the games which would have helped us improved our performance in terms of competition.
Iresh: You were part of the Commonwealth Games 2010 where you finished 6th, so how did you go about the preparation this time?
Shreyasi: These games were really important. I had to get a medal this time. During the Delhi Commonwealth (2010), I lost my father who had brain hemorrhage. I was very disheartened and upset. I couldn’t perform well then, but it was my father’s dream that I get a position in the games. After 2010, when I started working on my game again, I was thrown out of the team. It for once discouraged me a lot. But it gave me strength, after all I was doing it all for my father. I earned my team back by working a lot. I worked hard, changed my techniques, practiced well and silver it is, this time. (smiles)
Iresh: And was there any such incident in Glasgow that made you feel at any point of time that the medal is slipping out of your hands?
Shreyasi: Challenges are always there. There were two such incidents. I chose to sideline my health because I was too determined for the games but then I got a back injury which led to a loss of three days of training. I was worried because that meant a lot. Another was when I realized that the gold medal is gone for sure. But I made sure that I don’t lose the hope and remembered that silver and bronze are still there are worked for them.
Iresh: And finally you succeeded. To whom do you credit your success the most?
Shreyasi: I guess it is my father. I have always played for him. Otherwise for the game, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore who introduced me to shooting, everyone at Hans Raj College, my coach Paramjit Singh Sodhi and all my co-players for the game like Ankur Mittal (also from Hans Raj) who became one of the finalists in the game this year, Sangram, Chintan, Ravi Kumar and others from whom you get to learn a lot.
Iresh: Being a native of Bihar, you have always represented country from that state. How have you been received back this time?
Shreyasi: Yes I have always played from Bihar. I am really proud to be playing for and representing my state. But the condition of sports is very sad there. The state never was or is very welcoming. Others states I have seen are really encouraging in terms of honoring the sportspersons. Bihar in that way lags behind.
Iresh: If not a shooter, what else you think you could have been?
Shreyasi: A politician for sure. My dad is from politics. While growing up in an environment like this I have developed great interest for this field. 15-20 years down the line when I don’t want to shoot anymore, you maybe see me somewhere in The Parliament or something.
Iresh: Any message for the budding shooters in the University?
Shreyasi: All I can say is that stay determined, focus on your game and practice hard. Nothing is difficult. Success will surely be tasted one day.
Iresh: In the end please tell us something about your future plans?
Shreyasi: Glasgow was a good amount of training. Now I will be trained again in Italy as I’m preparing for the World Championship that is to be held in September and for Asian Games in October. On the academic front, I wish to go back to Hans Raj College for pursue my post graduation in Political Science to help me get more insight into the field of politics. As Hans Raj will never stop me to play, there can be no better place than that.
Iresh: Thank you so much Shreyasi. DU Beat wishes you all the luck for the upcoming competitions.