Shooter Abhishek Verma steps up training after award snub

His name not making to the list was not a "pleasant news", but Abhishek Verma is happy for his shooting teammates being named for the prestigious Arjuna Award.

After the Asian Games bronze in 2018, Abhishek won the World Cup gold medals in Beijing and Rio last year.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

Air pistol ace Abhishek Verma has enough achievements to feel deprived of the Arjuna Award. Rather than ruminating about the miss, the 31-year-old is happy for his mates in the Indian shooting team.

After the Asian Games bronze in 2018, Abhishek won the World Cup gold medals in Beijing and Rio last year. He also won the mixed air pistol gold with Manu Bhaker in the Asian Championship. He had made the World Championship final, and won the team silver.

With Saurabh Chaudhary winning two World Cup gold medals, it was a sweep of the highest honour for India, a domination over the rest of the world.

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"My name was not in the list. It was definitely not a pleasant news for me, especially in this pandemic situation, where I am already struggling to keep myself busy," observed Abhishek, an engineer and a lawyer rolled into one, on being ignored for the Arjuna Award.

"I am very happy that my two friends and teammates (Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary) got the Arjuna Award. Also, my mentor Jaspal Rana sir is being honoured with the Dronacharya Award," said Abhishek.

The tough situations and disappointments do not disturb Abhishek’s focus on Olympic preparation. With the support of Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), he was able to set up an electronic target at his home in Chandigarh, and a mini gym.

Apart from doing the Art of Living course online for yoga and meditation, Abhishek kept himself busy by cycling, learning to play the guitar, 3D drawing, German language and by connecting with cousins and friends through video calls."

After spending time fruitfully during lockdown, Abhishek has gone back to the Eklakshay Academy in Gurugram, to step up his training.