Mother's Day | Abhishek Verma: Mom gives tough fight in ludo, Fruit Ninja

When Abhishek Verma sat down to discuss taking up shooting full time with his mother, she agreed and it hardly took any convincing.

Abhishek Verma with his mother, Kusum.

Shooting sensation Abhishek Verma concurs celebrating Mother’s Day within the confines of his home in Chandigarh will be quite disappointing. But with the nationwide lockdown in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little the 10m air pistol world No. 3 can do about it.

“To look at the positive side of things, that will be the perfect day to play some more games with Mummy. We give a tough fight to each other in Ludo and Fruit Ninja! For the last two to three years, I have always been travelling. So this will be a good opportunity to spend time together,” says the 30-year-old.

Verma says his mother Kusum is the one behind him getting the tag of the 'accidental marksman', and he couldn’t be more grateful.

One of the oldest shooters to have made the Indian team, Verma’s life until 2017 had been very different – the Tokyo Olympics quota-holder was then pursuing a degree in law after earning a bachelor’s in technology. The sport he is associated with now was only a hobby at that time. “I used to travel down to Hisar from my house in Fatehabad. It was a three to four hours’ journey. One day, while on the way back, I began thinking why can’t I take this passion of mine further?”

That evening, when Verma reached home, he sat down to discuss the idea with his mother. “Surprisingly, she agreed. It hardly took convincing. My relatives were all of the idea that I should start working instead of wasting time doing other stuff. I hardly expected that from Mummy. Maybe the fact that I had started winning some local opens with the range pistol and brought in some cash prizes helped make up her mind. Nevertheless, I was taken back. To top it off, she even permitted me to buy my own equipment!”

Verma loves when his mother prepares pav bhaji. “You cannot just beat her at that,” says the 2019 Rio and Beijing World Cup gold medallist.

While on tours, Verma makes it a point to call his mother the night before a major competitions. “The effect her words have on me is huge. She doesn’t let me take any stress. She keeps on saying how she trusts me and my abilities. ‘Just be confident. The rest will fall in place, she says.”