Shooting Sensation Malaika Goel Aiming for Asian Games Gold

Malaika Goel, 16, made the shooting world took notice of her at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she beat experienced competitors, including India's very own Heena Sidhu to win the silver in the women's 10m air pistol event.

Updated: August 28, 2014 16:23 IST
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Malaika Goel CWG
File photo: Malaika Goel poses with her silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

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New Delhi: Sixteen-year-old shooting sensation Malaika Goel says the unexpected silver at the Commonwealth Games last month has given her the much-needed confidence to aim for a gold at the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon, Korea.

Malaika made the shooting world took notice of her in Glasgow where she beat experienced competitors, including India's very own Heena Sidhu to win the silver in the women's 10m air pistol event.

The Ludhiana-based schoolgirl is aware that the road ahead is tougher with back-to-back competitions in the World Championships starting September 6 in Granada, Spain and the subsequent Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

"It will surely be much tougher in the presence of the Chinese and the Koreans but at the same time I did not also expect to win a medal in Glasgow. Shooting is very much about your form on the day along with some luck going your way. I am confident things will fall in place in Incheon," Malaika told PTI here on Thursday.

Though the Worlds precede the Asian Games, the student of the Sacred Heart Convent School in Ludhiana is not bogged down by workload.

"The World Championships is another crucial event. I will try to do give my best there too but focus will remain on the Asian Games," said Malaika, who has not yet graduated to the senior level at World Championships and will be competing in the junior category. She leaves for Spain on the fifth of next month.

In the meantime, she is enjoying all the attention post her CWG exploits.

"Everyone has started paying special attention to me, especially in school. All of it can be distracting sometimes but it is more of a positive than negative."

She took to shooting in 2008 and it only took a week for her police-officer father to build a professional shooting range at home. Home has been her primary training ground since then.

"I would not have been able to do whatever I have managed if it was not for the shooting range at home. I could come back home from school and start training, I could train at any time of the day. It just made things so much easier," said the bubbly character who manages time for reading novels amid her training and school.

"It has not been that tough to balance my training with normal life. I train for four hours in a day and then find enough time for studies and other things."

Who is her role model in the sport? "It has to be Abhinav Bindra. I spoke to him for the first time in Glasgow. There is lots to learn from him and the best part about him is that he doesn't only talk about shooting. I usually get nervous before competition and he helped me immensely on that front in Glasgow," she signed off.

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