Sidhartha - Breaking convention in his own way

In the recently concluded South Zone Shooting championship, Sidhartha struck gold in 50m rifle prone.

Siddhartha Babu has achieved success in shooting despite many obstacles   -  Special Arrangement

A quirk of fate presented him a big challenge in life but R.K. Sidhartha Babu chose to fight it with determination.

The same trait saw him turn his childhood fantasy with rifles into a passion for target shooting. To pursue shooting as a sport, after being reduced to a paraplegic in a serious road accident in 2002, was Sidhartha's way of breaking the convention.

Before his accident, Sidhartha was full of life, a martial art exponent who taught karate to kids in his spare time. After the accident, he decided to pursue his old passion and six years later he was at the shooting range in Idukki chasing his dreams.

Sidhartha remembers being turned away by the organisers during his first visit to the shooting range but they bowed before his passion and rest is history.

In a sport which demands high levels of concentration and skills, Sidhartha is second to none and realised his long cherished dream of winning a gold medal while competing with mainstream shooters. In the recently concluded 9th South Zone Shooting championship, Sidhartha struck gold in 50m rifle prone. The gold medal was an improvement over his bronze medal winning performance in the same championships last year.

Already a national record holder and a champion in paraplegic category and State champion, Sidhartha was never satisfied with his achievement. He wanted to compete with the best and win, often pushing his body beyond the pain barrier. What is remarkable is that Sidhartha is a self-taught and self-coached shooter. He poured over books at the library to learn the nuances of shooting and still has no permanent coach.

Sidhartha attributes his recent success to the two-week long training he had in Russia at the beginning of this year. “The Kerala State Sports Council gave me the opportunity to train in Russia for two weeks. It helped me a lot and was one of the reasons for me winning the medal in the South Zone championship,'' he said.

Apart from the occasional menial grant from Kerala Sports Council, Sidhartha has funded the expensive sport on his own. What keeps him worried now is that his stock of ammunition has run out. “I have been very frugal with the ammunition. It is expensive and hard to get. I have been rationing myself but now I am nearing the end of my stock,'' he says.

Sidhartha drives to competition venue in the Chevrolet Spark car which he has modified on his own. His constant companion on those journeys is his pet Crayon, a Golden Retriever. The gold at the South Zone meet is the first step towards his bigger ambition of winning a gold in National shooting championship. His fierce determination and desire will see him conquer bigger goals in future.