After matching national record, Sekhon sets eyes on securing Olympic quota

Even though Sekhon missed the finals in Korea, the youngster saw it as a learning experience and later, underwent training in Italy.

Post winning a silver medal in the national in December 2018, 18-year-old skeet shooter Ganemat Sekhon took a break from the sport to dedicate her time to studies, apart from other things.

After the break, Zirakpur-resident Sekhon competed in the ISSF World Cup at Changwon in Korea, where she secured the seventh place on the first day, before finishing 21st after the second round.

Even though Sekhon missed the finals in Korea, the youngster saw it as a learning experience and later, underwent training in Italy. Last month, Sekhon became the junior as well senior champion in the Sajjan Singh Sethi Memorial Masters meet in Bhopal, before topping the sixth selection trials in Bhopal with a score of 120, a personal best score for her.

It also meant that the youngster was picked in the Indian team for the Asian Shooting Championships (shotgun), an Olympic quota offering tournament, to be held at Doha, Qatar from November 3.

”Last year, I competed in a lot of competitions, including the Asian Games and I needed a break. I spent time studying for my board exams and it meant that I returned to shooting with a fresh mind. Winning both the senior and junior titles in Bhopal last week, motivated me ahead of the sixth selection trials. I matched the national record score of 120 in the trials in tough conditions. It was raining in Bhopal during the trails and adjusting to the conditions was the key. The Asian Championship in Doha will offer two quota places for 2020 Olympics and I am aiming to win the quota for India. Shooters from China and Malaysia will pose as main challenges and I am ready for the challenge,” said Sekhon, who is a student of BA-I in SD College, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

Last year, Sekhon had become the first Indian female skeet shooter to win a medal at the ISSF World Championship, as she won the bronze medal in the junior world championship held in Sydney, Australia. The youngster, who started shooting on the insistence of her father Amrinder Singh Sekhon in 2015, completed her hat-trick of silver medals in the senior National Shooting Championship when she won the silver medal in last year’s championship at Jaipur.

She also competed in the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia, where she finished tenth. “In the ISSF World Cup in Korea, I shot a score of 72 out of 75 and was seventh after qualification day one. But I faltered in the second round to finish 21st after the end of qualification. In the 2010 Olympic champion, USA shooter Kimberly Rhode too shot a round of 72 in the first round and it gave me a lot of motivation that if I can match her in one round, then I can do better in the remaining rounds with more practice,” said Sekhon.

In a week-long training in Italy, post the ISSF World Cup in Korea, Italian coach Piero Genga spent time on improving Sekhon’s techniques and making minor tweaks in her standing position. “I had trained under Genga sir earlier also and training under him for a week in July this year helped me improve my game. He worked on my technique and also made some changes in my standing position, as I was facing some problems in holding the gun. It helped me in the trials too in Bhopal,” she said.

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