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Suma Shirur: ‘I’m proud of my girls’

Updated on: 25 September,2023 08:10 AM IST  |  Hangzhou
Ashwin Ferro |

India’s rifle shooting coach Shirur’s mum-like relationship with girls is helping as Mehuli, Ashi and Ramita bag team silver and an individual bronze

Suma Shirur: ‘I’m proud of my girls’

India’s Ramita Jindal (left), Ashi Chouksey and Mehuli Ghosh with their silver medals in the women’s team 10m air rifle shooting event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou yesterday. Pic/AFP

Team India’s rifle shooting coach Suma Shirur and her young girls team don’t just get along brilliantly, they also pick up medals en route. The women’s rifle shooters picked up two medals on Day One of the shooting competition here—a team silver and an individual bronze—in the 10m air rifle event at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre.

Mehuli Ghosh, 22, Ramita Jindal, 19, and Ashi Chouksey, 21, opened India’s medal account at this Asian Games by winning the team silver, after which Ramita impressed in a bronze-winning show in the individual event. Shirur, 49, a multiple-time Asian Games medallist, credited the young girls for absorbing pressure and delivering.

India rifle shooting coach Suma Shirur. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
India rifle shooting coach Suma Shirur. Pic/Ashwin Ferro

Shirur, a mother of two young boys, Nihaal, 22, and Malhar, 18, believes her motherly instincts help bring out the best in the young shooters. “I’m very proud of my girls today,” Shirur said moments after Ramita claimed the bronze medal. “It’s a fantastic performance by Ramita. What a fight she gave. Mehuli also did well, but unfortunately finished just outside the medals in the individual category [fourth place],” she added.

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This group of girls have been with Shirur right from their junior days.  “I have two young boys, so I know this age group very well. I think that helps me handle them that much better. I thoroughly enjoy being around them all the time,” Shirur told mid-day. 

Shirur was also pleased to see one of her young wards, Ramita, finding her feet at the senior level. “Ramita was part of the group when I was junior national chief coach. I remember her initial impressions at the Junior World Championships in Peru two years ago. So, to see her graduating so smoothly from junior to the senior level, just like how I have moved from junior to senior team coach, is very satisfying.  
Ramita has a good, learning mindset. Throughout this year she has been there in the league, but not excelled. She has had many close finishes, but importantly she stayed in the hunt. And today, I’m glad to see her emerge and win a medal at the senior level,” explained Shirur.

“Ramita is a very calm person on the lane, but very fun-loving and very bright and spontaneous off it, just like most of the other girls. Interestingly, while my elder son is already studying in a foreign country, my younger one is also set to go abroad for his under-grad course soon, so the other day, one of my girls told me ‘madam, dono bete baahar jayenge, toh aap kya karengi? [both your sons are abroad so what will you do now?]. I replied, ‘aap log ho na mere liye [you girls are there for me, na.] and we all laughed out loud.”

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