Manu Bhaker's ultimate goal: an Olympic gold

Manu Bhaker, who started the year with gold medals in her maiden senior World Cup, added two more golds at the Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympics.

Manu Bhaker with her 10m air pistol gold medal at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympics in October.   -  Getty Images

Name: Manu Bhaker.

From: Goria village, Jhajjar, Haryana.

Discipline: Pistol shooting, air pistol and sports pistol.

Education: Studying in Class XI at Universal Senior Secondary School, Goria.

Beginning: Bhaker got a taste of many sports — basketball, boxing, karate, kabaddi, kho kho, skating and tennis — before developing an interest in shooting in her school, which is run by her family. She first tried her hand at shooting on April 24, 2016. Her father Ramkishan then bought her first pistol in May that year after extracting a promise that she would stick to the sport for at least two years. Manu, who tended to lose interest quickly, stuck to this one! Her first competition was the Haryana state championships in June 2016, followed by the North Zone tournament.

Three coaches in the school — Suresh Kumar, Naresh Kumar and Anil Kumar — had taught her by turns. In December 2017, Manu beat the former World Cup Finals champion and world record holder Heena Sidhu to win the national gold in the air pistol in a field of 248 shooters. She also won the junior and youth gold medals to announce her arrival on the national stage. Manu now has four air pistols and two sports pistols, thanks to a bunch of world-class performances.

READ | Manu Bhaker among 16 shooters named for TOPS support

Aim: To win the Olympic gold is Manu’s ultimate goal — to hear the national anthem and see the national flag go up in the Olympic arena while being watched by the whole universe. She also wants to be a doctor, but her second aim could get delayed as her board examinations could clash with the World Cup to be held in Delhi in February. Winning an Olympic quota will be her priority and her education may take a temporary back seat.

To win the Olympic gold is Manu’s ultimate goal — to hear the national anthem and see the national flag go up in the Olympic arena.   -  The Hindu

 

Strong point: Manu is very dedicated and works hard when she puts her mind on a target. She learns fast and improves quickly. “You cannot always win, but you can always try your best,” is the mantra that has driven her to world-class performances. When she does not win, as was the case at the Asian Games and the World Championships, she sits alone and analyses. She’s also self-motivated and self-reliant, and doesn’t require much prodding to see reason. Plus, there’s her pleasant personality and winning smile.

READ: Manu Bhaker aims to secure Olympic quota place

What they say: Father Ramkishan Bhaker, who worked in the Merchant Navy, runs schools with his wife Sumedha. “I had a vision to help develop an all-round personality of the students in our schools. We had started a shooting range in the school in 2010. If you do it for everyone, your kid will automatically benefit.” In addition to providing quality education and honing sporting talent, he focuses on developing good character and a strong personality.

Achievements2018

Youth Olympics, Buenos Aires: Won the air pistol gold with 576 points in qualification and 236.5 in the final. Won the international mixed silver.

World Cup, Guadalajara, Mexico: Won the women’s air pistol with 572 in qualification and 237.5 in the final. Won the mixed pairs gold with Om Prakash Mitharval.

Junior World Cup, Sydney: Won the air pistol gold with 570 in qualification and 235.9 in the final. Won the mixed pairs gold with Anmol Jain.

Junior World Cup, Suhl: Won the air pistol gold with 573 in qualification and 242.5 in the final. Won the mixed pairs silver with Anmol Jain.

Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast: Won the air pistol gold.

Asian Airgun Championships, Kuwait: Won the mixed pairs with Saurabh Chaudhary.

Asian Games, Palembang: Fifth in the air pistol with 574 in qualification and 176.2 in the final.

Asian Games, Palembang: Sixth in the sports pistol. Topped qualification with 593, one short of the world record.

Meeting of Shooting Hopes, Plzen: Won the air pistol gold and the mixed pairs gold with Anmol Jain.

2017

Asian Championships: Won the youth silver with 382 in qualification and 236 in the final.