Constable, who couldn't afford a gun, wins gold in rifle shooting

Interminable police work and lack of wherewithal to buy her own rifle did not stop Constable Samita Hrishikesh Patil, attached to Gamdevi police station, from clinching the gold at the All India Police Shooting Championship hosted by the state.

With just two hours of practice every fortnight, Patil, brought pride to the state’s police force at the October tournament, her seniors say. “I had to borrow the weapon from the club where I practise, since the rifle with which I practice costs around Rs 2 lakh and it is beyond my means,” said Patil, who has recently been married. Impressed with her hard-won triumph, a businessman from south Mumbai has now asked to sponsor her rifle.

Constable Samita Patil won the gold medal at the pan-India championship with a borrowed rifle. Pic/Rane Ashish

“When Patil came to inform me about the gold medal, a businessman sitting in front of us heard our conversation and offered to finance the rifle for her through his trust. I am glad that she will have her own rifle. Usually shooters without their own weapons are forced to wait for hours at the range for their turn,” said Pradip Lolankar, who was then senior inspector of Gamdevi police station.

Gold and dutiful
The Mumbai police commissioner has rewarded Patil with Rs 5,000 and a remark of good service in her record. But she says that Lolankar, her reporting officer at the time, has a big role to play in her victory. “He was very cooperative and encouraged me to pursue my hobby. When I told him about the recent victory, he helped me find a sponsor and now I will have a weapon of my own,” she said.

Patil, who has been practising shooting since 2006 at Swatantra Veer Savarkar Air Rifle Club in Shivaji Park, entered the police force two years later as a police naik. “I have won several medals till date, and as per the government resolution, I have been promoted with every win. However, the long duty hours take away from my practice time,” Patil said. Her wish is to bag a posting at the Mumbai police force’s sports department as it would help her devote more time for practice.

The constable didn’t think she could be a shooter if she hadn’t been part of the shooting contests in her college days, when she stunned everyone with her prowess. “Thankfully, everything fell in place after college. My parents, husband and everyone in the family have been supportive. In fact, my in-laws made sure that I attended practice sessions even when I was too busy,” said Patil.

Winner’s streak
Samita Patil won the bronze medal in the ‘Gun for Glory’ contest held in the first week of October, which was attended by shooters from across the country. In September 2013, Patil made the department proud by bagging Pune Mahapaur. She won the gold in the Seventh All India Police Shooting Championship in Pune, which saw participation of 463 shooters from the police forces across the country. In the 10-metre event, peep-sight air rifle shoot, Patil had scored 386 out of 400 points. 

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