Three-time National women's skeet champion Rashmee Rathore has set her sights on the first ever International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) World Cup in India from February 22 to March 4, 2017.

“To win on home soil will be special,” the Hyderabad crack-shot told Sportstar from Patiala, during practice for the selection trials that got under way in the city recently. The national capital has been a happy hunting ground and could bridge the gap between her performances abroad and at home.

Shortage of ammunition seems to be her biggest hurdle. “Against the 15 to 20,000 rounds that shooters practise with overseas, we make do with 4000 to 5000,” rues the Kerala National Games champion. Since it’s mostly imported, costs are not easy to meet without sponsorship.

Her mental strength couldn’t keep pace with advancing technique. To sort out what is perhaps the most vital aspect of her craft, she sought help from Vaibhav Agashe, sports psychologist after being advised by Olympic trap shooter Shagun Chowdhary. Mentor to many marksmen, Agashe counseled her on the need to talk to and understand herself especially under pressure and ways to control stress.

Having Ennio Falco as coach helped immensely. Under the 1996 Atlanta Olympics men’s skeet gold medallist, Rashmee missed making the Asian Shotgun Championships final in Kuwait by a solitary point after powdering the clay 67 out of 75 times ! Over time, her displays in international competition registered a rise.

The road ahead is no easy pathway to success. “My daily practice is rigorous. I get up at 4 A.M. and go to the gym an hour later. The drive to the range, 35 km away, is not as exhausting as on the way back home to Sainikpuri, Secunderabad. My passion for shooting keeps me going,” concludes Rashmee.