Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], February 8 (ANI): Three months ago, a shoulder niggle in the shooting arm, to be precise right hand, spoiled Haryana's international shooter Palak's party at the national shooting championships in Bhopal.
On Monday, Palak was in a different league, winning the girls 10m gold medal with elan on the concluding day of the Khelo India Youth Games shooting competition at Bhopal's MP Shooting Academy campus. "The Khelo India Youth Games is a good platform for shooters in the youth category," Palak said in the post gold medal match interaction.
No doubt teenage shooters from across the country got an opportunity to showcase their talent in Bhopal, it also gave elite shooters like Palak a chance to regain confidence ahead of the busy 2023 shooting competition. "I am happy to start the new season by winning gold that too with a good performance," the Haryana teenage shooter added.
Palak won a couple of medals at the international competitions she competed in 2022 and despite being a teenage shooter was ranked number one in the senior group too. However, she failed to deliver goods at Egypt's rifle and pistol World Shooting Championships in Cairo held last year in October.
Palak has the knack of erasing bad shots in a flash from her memory at the shooting ranges. It's a big advantage in precision shooting as the preliminary or the qualification match in the women's 10m air pistol is a 60-shot match to be completed within 75 minutes. The top eight in the qualification are selected for the final, which starts from scratch and is a 24-shot match. In high-quality matches, the difference is decimal between the top and the eighth shooter.
Palak also has a quality of being steady in shooting despite a moderate start. "I have a peculiar habit of taking more time to focus and releasing the shots in the early stages of the competition," Palak explained. "I am new to target shooting so it is a learning experience for me. Right now, I am comfortable with how I practice and compete. Maybe in the future I might change my shooting technique."
Off the shooting ranges, Palak is considered a studious student in her school and in her family. "She is a 12th class medical student and has her board examination next month," Palak's father Joginder Singh said.
Palak admitted it has been a hectic schedule as she had to study and prepare for the Khelo India Youth Games. "She often studies in the wee hours and then goes to shooting ranges for three to four hours. Post lunch she again goes to the ranges for practice," Palak's father said.
Palak's first experience holding a precision pistol was at the school shooting ranges in Gurgaon in 2019. Within a span of four years, she made rapid strides. When not in the national camp Palak often practices at Faridabad's local shooting range. "Extreme sacrifice on the part of my family and close associates has enabled me to reach a good level. My next target is to perform well in my board exams. After the examination I will resume practice to earn a place in the national team and excel at the International level," Palak signed off with a warm smile. (ANI)