Vadodara: A 21-year-old rifle shooter, winner of 8 medals in different state-level competitions in Gujarat, has set up a food stall here to fund the purchase of sophisticated gear required of the sport which she was forced to discontinue due to financial constraints.
Pushpa Gupta has opened the Chinese food stall since February this year, so that she can continue to pursue her dream of becoming a national champion.
“I left this expensive sport about one and half years ago after I found it difficult to go outside Gujarat to participate in national level rifle shooting championships being held in Kolkata, New Delhi and Punjab,” Gupta, who originally hails from Uttar Pradesh, told PTI today.
“I also left the sport due to financial condition of my family. My father Dinesh who sells vegetable and works in a private company is not in a position to fund my journeys to these places,” she said.
“Buying a rifle which costs over Rs 5 lakh and its kit and other materials needed for it was out of question and hence I was compelled to give up the sport” she added.
To attract customers, she has displayed 8 medals at the stall which include medals won by her in Gujarat state level championships.
She also won medals in ‘The KhelMahakumbh’ a state state level sports competition organised by the Gujarat government.
Gupta was interested in shooting after joining in commerce faculty at the city-based Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in 2013.
“I found I have skills in shooting during National Cadet Corps (NCC) training and won medals at the college and university level. At that time rifles were provided by the NCC.
“I started enjoying the sport without realising that it was an expensive affair. I realised about it (the sport being expensive) when I could not participate in national level championship as I did not own a rifle and kits,” she said.
She claimed that sport personalities playing cricket,
football, hockey get help by their respective association but it was not the case with rifle shooting.
“So, I thought why not to run a stall by selling Chinese food. With the amount earned I can buy a Japanese rifle and a kit and support the family,” she said.
She expressed confidence of winning in bigger tournaments if she has Japanese rifles.
Pushpa said she was impressed by Lajja Goswami from Anand town who had won a medal in the Commonwealth Games a couple of years ago.
“I earn about Rs 150 per day. However this amount is not enough for me buy a rifle. Anyways, but my aim is to do well in national and international shooting event”
She hopes success in bigger tournaments will get her a government job.
Her father Dinesh said if Pushpa gets a job in CRPS, SRP or Police, it will help her to develop her skill.
Meanwhile, Ranjanben Bhatt, BJP MP from Vadodara, today met Pushpa at her residence here and assured to support her.