The daughter of a civilian driver in Infantry School Mhow(MP) used to hear the shots being fired at the nearby Army firing range.She caught a fancy for rifle shooting,but it was not easy for her to reach there.Her father decided to make way for her.While she was studying in seventh grade ,she got an opportunity to participate in the summer camp,as a part of the infantry kids team .The accuracy of her shots got her a place in the junior team,and she was chosen for one weeks training to hone her shooting skills.
The young girl has now grown up and become a celebrity.Join your hands together for Ms Rajkumari Rathore ,who received the coveted Arjun award from the President on 30 August 2013.The award is given to sports persons who not only have a good performance ,consistently for the previous three years at the international level,with excellence for the year in which the award is recommended,but should also have shown qualities of leadership,sportsmanship, and a sense of discipline.The award carries a cash prize of Rs five lakhs and a bronze statuette of Arjuna and a scroll.It is for the first time that an Academy player from Madhya Pradesh has won the Arjun award.
It has been a long journey from a member of the Infantry kids team to an Arjun award winner in rifle shooting.Hailing from Harsola village near Mhow,where early marriage was prevalent in 1990’s,her relatives and friends ridiculed her and taunted her parents for letting her participate in rifle shooting,which was unheard of for girls.Rajkumari counts Col MS Chauhan as one of her mentors,who encouraged her and counselled her parents not to get her married early.
The tally of medals earned by Rajkumari is really impressive.She won the gold and silver medals in the Commonwealth games in 2002,bronze medal in the world championship 2002,three silver medals in National games 2011,one gold and a bronze medal in the twelfth Asian games shooting championship Doha,to name just a few.She has participated in three world cup tournaments in London,Milan and Munich.In all she won 104 medals which include 43 gold,32 silver and 29 bronze-a rare feat indeed!
After her marriage in 2007 Rajkumari has now settled down in Dhar (MP) and is a proud mother of a four years old daughter.When asked to give a message for the upcoming sportsmen,she said”don’t heed to people who ridicule you,just have faith in yourself,and remain focused on your goal”
Rajkumari is not going to rest on her laurels,she has already set her eyes on the next Commonwealth games,Asian games and of course Olympics,for which she is training hard with all her might.There is no doubt that she will realize her dreams.
(The above success story is based on the interview of Ms Rajkumari Rathore by Maj Pradeep Khare)