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Top young players from the region talk about what drives them and the never say die attitude that keeps them going.Top young players from the region talk about what drives them and the never say die attitude that keeps them going.

first_imgBowing Down to PassionGagandeep Kaur, 28, Archer, PatialaPhoto: Chandradeep SinghArchery, she says gives her a better view. The sport, she insists defines focus, even when she is not holding the bow. She has come a long way, and she is proud of her rise. “I come from a simple background,Bowing Down to PassionGagandeep Kaur, 28, Archer, PatialaPhoto: Chandradeep SinghArchery, she says gives her a better view. The sport, she insists defines focus, even when she is not holding the bow. She has come a long way, and she is proud of her rise. “I come from a simple background and had to start training with a wooden bow. It is only my passion and commitment that has brought me so far,” says Kaur.Achievements: Gagandeep Kaur bagged a gold and two silver medals in the Asian Grand prix held at Dhaka (Bangladesh) in May, 2011, and set a new record of score 698 out of 720. She also won a gold medal in the Asian Grand prix held at Malaysia in March, 2010. In the World University Games held at Shenzhen (China) in September 2011, she brought home a bronze and in the same year in July in the World Cup held at Ogden (USA), Kaur was decorated with a silver medal. She won a gold in the 2011 National Championship and under the All-India InterUniversity category held at Udaipur in 2009, she bagged six gold medals.How it all began: When Kaur was in Class X, she saw her friends try their hand on archery and decided to give it a shot.Speed breakers: Though her parents never discouraged Kaur when she started devoting her time practising, what really bothered the young player was the cost of equipment. “Good archery gear costs more than Rs 2 lakh, something which I could not afford. So I started with a wooden bow and graduated to better equipment when I enrolled in Punjabi University, Patiala,” she says.advertisementState of affairs: I feel sports should be made compulsory for every child in school, only then can we hope to make a mark internationally. Also, like Haryana, sportspersons in Punjab should be offered better scholarships and perks,” she stresses.Bull’s eye: “I am clear that I want to be a world champion one day.” Bowing Down to Passion Gagandeep Kaur, 28, Archer, PatialaBesides archery: Pistol shootingFavourite archer: Sara Lopez (Colombia)What if not a sportswoman: Fine arts has always fascinated me. I would have been a painterSmall Hands, Long Swing Vasundhara Thiara,13, Golfer, ChandigarhThe greens fascinate this young golfer and make her feel complete. “It’s like home.”Achievements: She was ranked number three in the Asian Ranking in 2015 and ranked number one in India in the IGU order of merit for girls category in 2014. In the world rankings, she stood at number 17 as per US Kids World Championship in 2013. In Annika Sorenstam Girls Golf Championship, she was at the17th position in Hole in One Junior Girls Category held in April 2016 at Mission Hills Golf & Country Resort in China.Thiara got the third position in Girls 12 and under in the MercedesBenz Junior Golf Championship, Asian Masters Final held in June 2015 at Burapha Golf Course, Chonburi, Thailand. She bagged first position in Junior Girls Category in Punjab Ladies Open held in February 2016 at the Chandigarh Golf Club.Road to glory: In 2007, when Thiara when was just four, her elder brother Zoravar, an accomplished international equestrian rider, was playing cricket with his friends in the lawn of the house using a lawn tennis racket and a tennis ball. When the young girl joined them, she could make better contact with the ball and hit it to quite a distance. Her parents took her to meet golfer, JS Grewal, at the Chandigarh Golf Range. Initially, he was a little hesitant in coaching her as she was too young, but on seeing her connect with the golf ball using clubs which had been specially cut down to her size, he decided to take her under his wing.State of affairs: Are you content with what the state government is doing? She is quick to retort, “Where is the infrastructure? Leave alone courts and turfs, there are not enough fields where children can play. Private schools charge so much and there is little infrastructure available there.”Bull’s eye: “My dream is to participate in the World Championship and the Olypmics,” says Thiara.Besides golf: Swimming, Cycling, Basketball, FootballFavourite golfer: Annika Sorenstam, SwedenWhat if not a sportswoman: Totally focused on golf for nowSpeed’s ChildAshish Moudghil, 32, Motorcyclist, PanchkulaPhoto: Nilotpal BaruahIt all began in 2002 when his younger brother asked him to participate in the Sub-Himalayan SJOBA rally to prove his skill-set. Ashish Moudghil secured the seventh position. But something inside him changed, forever. “It was not just the way people looked at me but also how I perceived myself,” he remembers.advertisementAchievements: Won the Raid De Himalaya five times, the highest rally in the world, four times (2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010), four-time winner of SJOBA Sub-Himalayan Rally (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008), besides grabbing the first position in Highland Motor Rally in 2003.Speed breakers: Moudghil’s passion was ‘sponsored’ by his mother who started working as a head clerk in the Himachal Pradesh Electricity Department after he lost his father to lung cancer in 1999. “In 2010, I took a personal loan to buy my first foreign bike, a Yamaha WR450F that cost Rs 7 lakh, and it took me five years to repay that loan.”State of affairs: ‘The prime age to learn and develop skills is early 20’s. State governments, especially in the North, must come up with a proactive plan to develop and subsidise the development of off-road recreational areas dedicated to motor sports,” he says.Bull’s eye: “I am currently aiming to develop my skills further for hard endurance events like Roof of Africa,” Moudghil says.Besides motorsports: BadmintonFavourite motorsport personality: Sebastian Lobe (France)Escaping the tarmac: Modifying my bike and making home automation projects and circuitsLong Drive to SuccessAnmolpreet Singh, 18, Cricket, PatialaAnmolpreet Singh remembers tagging along with his cousins for college and university cricket tournaments. He also remembers people’s smiles when as a nine-year-old, he would tell them that he would play for India one day.Achievements: Selected for the Under-19 World cup team and declared Best Player of the Year for 2015-16. In the Under-19 World Cup quarter finals, scored 41 runs and also claimed three wickets. In the Under-19 World Cup semi-final hit 72 runs and declared Man of the Match. Played eight Under-19 matches hitting 1154 runs with an average of 145. He was also the captain of the North Zone winning team.Speed breakers: Singh considers himself lucky that his parents were supportive. Of course, this meant that he had to miss school most of the time. “On more than one occasions, my name was struck off from the school. And yes, thanks to this game, I never used to score very well academically. There were times when my father had to approach the teachers and the principal,” says the cricketer.State of affairs: Despite being part of the squad that secured the second position in the Under-19 World Cup held in Bangladesh in January this year, no one from the state administration has even bothered to congratulate him, leave alone offer any benefit. “Is it not surprising that the government has no time for us?’ he says. He insists that a decent scholarship amount for promising players could prove helpful in encouraging sportspersons.Bull’s eye: Ever since Singh held the bat for the first time, his aim has been to make it to the senior national squad. “You have no idea how hard I am working for this,” he says.Besides cricket: Handball and table tennisWhat if not a sportsman: Police servicesFavourite cricketers: Steve Smith and Virat Kohli l  Escaping the pitch: Action and comedy moviesadvertisementAiming It RightYashaswini Singh Deswal, 18, Shooting, ChandigarhPhoto: Sandeep SahdevThe had gone with her father to watch the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010. Seeing shooters display icy concentration, Deswal, who was just 12 then, decided she wanted to  hold  the  weapon   too.Achievements: Won the individual in Junior World Cup held in April 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and reached the sixth rank at Youth Olympic Games held in Nanjing in China in August 2014. She also won the team gold medal (seniors) at Asian Airgun Championship held in Delhi in September, 2015 and went on to win five gold medals and one silver medal in National Championship held in Delhi in December, 2015. Deswal won a silver medal in Junior World Cup held in last week of April 2016.How it all began: Deswal’s sister, Kritika Singh Deswal, was a national level basketball player during school and college days. “She always motivated me to dedicate myself to a sport of my choice. When I went to watch the 2010 CWG in Delhi with my father, I interacted with TS Dhillon, a former international shooter, out of curiosity. He encouraged me and went on to train me.”The happy shooter: Stressing that she has never faced any roadblocks thanks to supportive parents, Deswal praises the Haryana government for how it motivates sportspersons. “There may be an acute shortage of shooting ranges in Chandigarh and Panchkula, but the state government goes out of its was to give us cash benefits and honoring sportspersons at public platforms,” says the BA first year student of DAV College, Chandigarh.Bull’s eye: The young shooter wants to represent the country at top international forums and achieving better performance with each tournament. She adds, “I hope I can do justice to my parents’ and coach’s expectations.”Besides shooting: Swimming. I learnt it when I was threeWhat if not a shooter: MountaineerFavourite shooter: Jitu Rai, National ChampionEscaping the bullet: Playing with my doglast_img read more