Apr 10, 2018
By Debayan Mukherjee - Kolkata, Teen shooting sensation Mehuli Ghosh, fresh from bagging two bronze medals at the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico, has now set her eyes on breaking a senior world record by the end of 2018.

Buoyed by a stellar show on debut -- lowest podium finish in women’s 10m air rifle and mixed team event at Mexico -- the Bengal shooter would like to do well in as many tournaments as she can, while guarding against any form of complacency creeping into her game.

The shooter, who first made her mark at the West Bengal state junior championship with two silver medals in 2014, pointed out that she always has her feet on the ground and is not getting swayed by the newfound adulation.

“I have made a junior world record. Now I want to make a senior world record. I want to do well in as many tournaments as I can and for that I cannot let complacency creep into me,” Mehuli told IANS in an interview.

Around 200 people turned up at the Kolkata airport to welcome Mehuli as she returned from Guadalajara recently.

“It’s part of the game and every sportsman encounters this,” Mehuli gushed when asked how she is dealing with this sudden limelight.

“The more I think about it, it can affect me. I want to go with the flow, end of the day I need to play my game and focus on it. I am not focusing on the attention I am getting at the moment,” said Mehuli, who had to brave financial hurdles on her way to pursuing her shooting career.

It was after joining former Olympian shooter Joydeep Karmakar’s academy in Kolkata that Mehuli started living up to her promise.

Last May, she came seventh in an international junior championship in Czech Republic. A couple of months ago, she underlined her potential at the national championship, where she clinched nine medals (2 gold, 7 silver).

“When I got on to the podium, it was a proud moment. The feeling did not quite sink in as I had to focus on the mixed team event scheduled for the next day,” Mehuli said about her first thoughts after winning the bronze at Mexico with a junior world record score of 228.4,

Hailing from Baidyabati, a small town about 30 kms away from Kolkata, Mehuli will now take part in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast from April 4 to 15.

“I am not preparing in any special way (for CWG). This will be a new challenge and I will have to start from scratch. I cannot rest on World Cup laurels, in Commonwealth Games. I have to start afresh,” said Mehuli.

The 17-year-old feels more than her technical acumen, the two areas she needs to improve on are mental toughness and fitness.

“I need to work on my mental toughness and physical fitness. I feel technically, there is not a lot to do ahead of Commonwealth Games.”

From her parents to coach Karmakar, Mehuli said the advice has been to not think too highly of her achievements and stay focused.

“They always ask me to stay grounded. My coach Joydeep sir always tells me to not go overboard and think about the fact that if I fail, the same people will grill me. I have a lot of time ahead of me and lot of important competitions to take part in. I have my feet firmly on the ground.”

Mehuli is expecting a call from her idol badminton star P.V. Sindhu and said it is the latter’s aggression and focus that she admires.

“She is playing in a tournament (All England Open Badminton Championships) and I got to know she will call me once she is back in the country. Joydeep sir told me about it and I am waiting for her call,” she signed off.

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