They represent the other side of Indian sport. The Mexico World Cup-bound shooters from Hyderabad - Kynan Chenai (trap) and Rashmee Rathore (skeet) - belong to a different breed. Left to fend for themselves (when they are not in the national camp and train in Hyderabad), the duo is still in search of a World Cup shooting medal.
For these two shooters, it has been a different kind of experience training at the SATS shooting ranges on the University of Hyderabad campus ahead of the Mexico World Cup later this month.
All that these two shooters get is the shooting complex free and in good condition thanks to the efforts of the Range Administrator Alex Francis.
“Yes, I am tired of looking for sponsors and even good jobs which should take care of minimum expenses,” says Rashmee.
Incidentally, these two spend about Rs. 25 for every target they shoot (they shoot almost 400 daily). And, it costs them about Rs. 15 lakh each per annum if they were to train and compete in major internationals.
“It is very sad that the corporate groups fail to understand the huge visibility factor they gain if they sponsor shooters given the amount of travelling they do in a year. For instance, except for a couple of weeks this year, we are on the move with major championships scheduled next year,” explains 26-year-old Kynan, who is grateful to being in the Olympic Gold Quest programme and in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
The 34-year-old Rashmee, competing in her 15th World Cup, owes her shooting career to her father Capt. Y.S. Rathore with the Indian Army.
“It is often ridiculous to face some embarrassing questions the few times I ventured out to find sponsors. I don’t think many understand the value of our achievements,” remarked the five-time national gold and three-time silver medallist.
Rashmee, whose best was the 2012 World Cup in Australia when she missed the London Olympics qualification by just two points, insists the financial factor does pinch them a lot but doesn’t deter them to keep away from the ranges.
“This is where I began shooting thanks to Kynan father’s support. I simply love this place to train before going to any major competition,” she says. “Yes, we feel at home here for obvious reasons,” echoes Kynan, who will be making his 12th World Cup appearance.
Then, what are the biggest challenges?
“Shooting is one sport where you have to fight against yourself in double quick time and it is such a precision sport with no scope for any lapse in concentration. You have to keep resetting targets in a flash putting behind the disappointments,” feel the two shooters.
“Personally, once I am through the qualifying rounds, somehow I feel more confident in the finals. And, this is what will be my first target in Mexico,” says a smiling Rashmee.
For his part, Kynan reminds that he has never been to Mexico shooting ranges which are said to be very good but is also informed that they have the ‘pocket wind’ factor which makes it even more challenging.
“Again, it all depends on how well you perform on the given day like in any other sport, no matter what kind of preparations you have had,” the two gifted shooters point out.
“Our ultimate goal is to win gold at the highest level. We are sure we will do that and probably then the world will recognise our efforts over the years,” they sign off with a big smile.