The title’s Aishwary Singh Tomar, not Aishwarya Rai!

Vinayak Padmadeo

Today News Online Service

New Delhi, March 24

Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar jokingly said: “I have been called Aishwarya Rai a lot, today it was Akshay Kumar! Pata nahi kya chal raha hai!”

When the first time he broke into the junior Indian team, he was wrongfully named Aishwarya in the team sheet. He got it corrected in the ISSF records, but folks kept calling him Aishwarya back home.

“I had to show them my shooter’s ID, wahan bhi naam galat tha! Thankfully, all this is past me,” he said.

Despite the gaffe by the announcer, Aishwary made his name after winning gold in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions in a field that included current world No. 5 Istvan Peni and world No. 6 Sanjeev Rajput.

The 20-year-old started strongly and led in the first 15 shots in the kneeling position. However, he slipped to second place in the next 15 shots in prone position. However, he recovered in the standing position to lead the finals by the time the elimination rounds started.

This is his maiden gold medal in the senior India colours with a total of 462.5 points. Hungary’s Peni finished second with 461.6, followed by Denmark’s Steffen Olsen with 450.9 points.

Rajput faded out of the contest and finished sixth with a 413.3 points. Niraj Kumar, the third Indian in the final, finished eighth with 400.3 points.

Aishwary later conceded that he was very nervous before the finals. In fact he told his coach Suma Shirur that he felt sick. “There is always pressure. This is part of the game. We all have to deal with it,” he said.

Aishwary, who hails from Ratanpur village in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district, has come a long way from a shooter who had to face two big disappointments quite early in his career. In 2014, he failed to earn a place in the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Academy (MPSA). Next year he was disqualified in the Nationals due to an equipment glitch.

“Initially I was only shooting 10m air rifle. In 2017, I started to shoot all three 10m air rifle, prone and 3 Positions competitions and I became the junior national champion in all three events. Then I knew I could do this,” he said of his early years.

Today, after his gold, everyone knows he can do this.

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