Spotlights on Youth: Sarnobat's challenge is to make shooting more popular than cricket in India

ISSF World Cup Rifle / Pistol · Changwon, KOR

Many Indian athletes are doing well at shooting, making it popular in their country. 22-year-old Rahi Sarnobat is among them, with a Gold medal in Changwong.

“How popular is shooting in India? More and more… Shooting is definitely growing in our country!”


This is Rahi Sarnobat, talking about shooting sport in India after winning the 25m Pistol Gold Medal match in Changwon. “Our national championships got thousands of shooters. - Continued Rahi – Some good Indian-flagged results in international competitions made people curious about this sport.”


And that’s the reality.


Rathore’s Double Trap Silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athens had sparkled the interested on the sport in the country. Then, Abhinav Bindra won India’s first Olympic Gold medal in 2008, securing the 10m Air Rifle Men title in Beijing and becoming the country’s most famous sportsman.


Gagan Narang’s Olympic Bronze in the 10m Air Rifle Men event and Vijay Kumar’s 25m Pistol Men Silver in London, strength the reputation of our sport in the country. And India is nowadays one of the most interested countries in the shooting sport. Now it came to Rahi Sarnobat to bring the Indian flag up to the shooting podium.



Media spotlights are on, and Rahi’s victory re-sounded on every newspaper in the country. And this is not the first time she finished under the media lenses. In fact, she got a Gold medal at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games, which were actually held in India. That time, she wasn't even competing in her favourite discipline: “First I was doing 10m Air Pistol, - she said - then I decided to try 25m Pistol for the Commonwealth Games and it worked out. It was my first medal, I was just 18!”


After that, Rahi took part in the 2012 Olympics, but it wasn't as fine as she expected: “I'm not talking about medals. – She explained – I focus more on my performance.”


Changwon gave her what she wanted: “This victory means a lot to me. - She said – I was quite sure I would have made it, since I had already tried the new rules in India and I was familiar with them.”


Rahi is going to take some rest, not participating in the next World Cup Stage in Al Ain (UAE). She'll be back soon, though: just wait till May, when Rahi will be in the U.S. trying to gain another medal for her country at the ISSF World Cup.

What is Rahi's big aim? She clearly expressed it: “Next year I'll take part in all of the World Cup Stages. I want a quota place for the Olympics!”


Easy to predict a bright future for shooting sport’s popularity in India, with such excellent shooters on the line.

Alessandro Ceschi (Twitter: @Aleceschi)


ISSF Partners