Competing in Asian Games Without Debuting for India- the Abhishek Verma Way

It is easy to pursue a career right from childhood and tremendously excel at in adulthood after years and years of rigorous hard work. But it’s not so easy to pursue a hobby as a career, that too when it is taken up in the late 20s.

However, 29-year-old Abhishek Verma from Haryana has shown the world that age or experience is no bar for a person to accomplish life goals if one is determined to put all the blood, sweat and tears each and every single day without any excuses.

Into the maelstrom of typical career choices

Like every other child who aspires to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer, Abhishek was no different. After completing his schooling, he opted for a B. Tech course in Computer Science. But to his disappointment, his expectations were quite different from the reality he was forced to face as an engineering student.

“Jo soch ke kiya tha, who majaa nahi aaya (I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would),” he says while recalling his engineering days.

After that, he tried to become an IAS officer but was heartbroken as he soon found out that the level was just too tough for him to crack. He then opted for studying law in Kurukshetra University in Haryana. It was during this time in 2015 that Abhishek took up shooting as a hobby.

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“I was always interested in shooting and swimming, right from my childhood. Back then, there used to be just one or two ranges in the state. In 2015, one shooting range opened near where I stay in Hissar and I joined it. I was looking at shooting as a hobby, I didn’t take the sport seriously as a career.” he told Scroll.in.

From a hobby to India’s No 1

But it wasn’t until last year that he metamorphosed his hobby into a genuine desire to be a professional shooter. After searching for a while for a good coach, he finally got in touch with Omendra Singh, who happened to be in the Army Marksmen unit, in Gurgaon and started training at the Eklavya Sports Shooting Academy.

Abhishek had previously participated in the National Shooting Championships in 2015 and 2016 but his scores were not that good. But with Omendra by his side, his performance in 2017 was remarkable as he won a silver medal in the civilian category and subsequently, his individual overall ranking improved significantly.

The Championship of 2017 proved to be the turning point of his career as he started raking in consistent high scores since the trials began for international events earlier this year.

“In trial 1, the score was okay but I did better in trial 2, winning the gold. My national ranking then climbed to fifth in India. And by the time the Selection Trials 5 and 6 ended, my ranking climbed to No 1 in India.” said Abhishek, who is yet to make his debut for India.

The Haryanvi shooter is now India’s No 1 in 10m air pistol, shooting 585 in qualification and then winning the gold to trump Deepak Sharma, Jitu Rai and Amanpreet Singh in the Selection Trials 5 in June. He will represent now India at the Asian Games in the individual as well as the mixed-team event scheduled to be held from 18 August to 2 September 2018 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. He will then go on to play in the world championship, without having played a single ISSF World Cup.

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The determination and zeal to achieve the top spot and displace India’s previous Commonwealth Games’ medallists and World No 1 from the two-man Indian contingent for the Asian Games is no mean feat. From being outside India’s top-10 until a year ago to becoming India’s No 1, Abhishek has truly defied all odds and shown that all it takes to be successful are determination and perseverance.

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