India Junior/Youth Selection trials: 14-year-old Namrata shoots gold

At the India Junior/Youth Selection trials in New Delhi, Namrata De bagged a gold medal in the Junior category with a score of 246.1. She also clinched the silver medal in the Youth category, with a score of 250.0.

Namrata De (centre) after clinching her maiden gold at the India Junior/Youth Selection trials in New Delhi.   -  Twitter/ @Joydeep709

Namrata De is just 14, but she has already made her presence felt in the shooting arena. On Tuesday, she shot 624.0 during the qualification rounds of the 10m Air Rifle category at the India Junior/Youth Selection trials in New Delhi. In the T3, this was the highest qualification score in the Youth category.

However, in the finals, she finished fourth and sixth in the Youth and Junior categories, respectively.

Although her T4 qualification score was 1.9 points lesser than what it was in T3, she came back strongly during the Finals, on Wednesday, showing tremendous grit to bag a gold medal in the Junior category with a score of 246.1. She also clinched the silver medal in the Youth category, finishing with a score as high as 250.0.

Namrata, however, wasn’t celebrating yet. “[This is] just the beginning. As of now, my next aim is to put up a better performance in the upcoming trials,” she said.

READ: Mehuli's golden feat after disastrous 3.4 start

As the youngster gunned for glory, her mentor and Olympian, Joydeep Karmakar, was ecstatic. “Why try and be like Mehuli [Ghosh] when Namrata can stick to being herself and maybe, who knows, become better than Mehuli someday?” Joydeep said, not willing to compare her with his other ward, Mehuli Ghosh.

In 2017, the New Town School in Kolkata, which houses the JKSA Shooting Academy, recommended Namrata -- then a student of the 7th standard -- as one of its automatic picks for an optional shooting course.

“To be absolutely honest, she was nothing out of the ordinary then. A shy girl, Namrata used to be quite scared of me. But that has passed,” Karmakar said.

Karmakar, who is monitoring CWG silver medalist Mehuli Ghosh’s progress as the high-performance coach with the Olympic Gold Quest programme, added, “At the academy, Namrata has even managed to beat Mehuli’s score... not once, but twice!”

“A few more good performances in the upcoming trials two months down the line should see her safely in the squad by 2020. Considering how she is improving by the day, it shouldn’t be much difficult. We have stepped up her training as well, also ensuring at the same time that it does not put much pressure on her,” Karmakar said.

Namrata’s father, Nirmalya De, too was happy with daughter’s achievements. “[This] makes me immensely proud and happy. We are all very supportive of the path she has chosen for herself and as of now, we are ready to provide her all the support she requires in the future,” he said.