Shooter Gajanan Shahadev Khandagale wins bronze at Khelo India University Games 2021, wants to represent India at the Olympics

Khandagale wins bronze at Khelo India University Games 2021 (Pic Credit: Khelo India)
Khandagale wins bronze at Khelo India University Games 2021 (Pic Credit: Khelo India)

Gajanan Shahadev Khandagale, who competed in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the ongoing Khelo India University Games 2021 (KIUG), bagged a bronze medal after scoring 260.2 points at the event.

The 22-year-old got hooked on an awfully familiar shooting game called PUBG. He was oblivious to the fact that, in reality, a mobile game would lead to him fetching a podium finish one day. He would dedicate hours to the game and eventually improved at it.

In 2019, Gajanan, was at the National Cadet Corps when he learned about the GV Mavalankar Shooting Camp. His peers informed him that students inclined towards the sport could appear for the trials at the camp.

Gajanan attended the trials and realized that aiming came naturally to him and that he could shoot with ease. Speaking of the same, he said:

"In PubG, you have to aim properly to hit the target. I received a great understanding of how to do that through that game. On the first day of my selection of shooting trials, I felt quite good about myself, holding a rifle. Before that, I had never even seen one before, and there I was, having one in my arms."
KIUG 2021 bronze medallist shooter Gajanan Shahadev Khandagale credits PUBG for his performanceRead @ANI Story |…#KIUG2021 #sports #PUBGMOBILE #Shooting

After a decent performance in the camp, as well as in local and national-level tournaments in the 50 m Rifle 3 Positions event, it was time for Gajanan to look take the next step.

Hailing from Talwada in the Beed district of Maharashtra, a lot of simple things were unattainable for his family. Gajanan soon realized that as shooting was an expensive sport, he couldn’t afford it. He said:

"I had no knowledge at the time about how expensive the sport could be. Besides expensive equipment and gear, the cost of traveling, diet, and maintaining physical fitness was too much to bear."

With a heavy heart, Gajanan went to his parents and requested them to allow him to pursue his dream sport. His father, who sells footwear for a living in the village, gave the youngster his full support. He later sold a small area of the family's land to fund his son's shooting career.

Gajanan added:

"My parents also borrowed money from some of my relatives to ensure I pursue my dreams. I decided to switch to 10 m Air Rifle at that point, as it required lesser equipment and was relatively easier to afford."

"My aim is to go to the Olympics" - Shooter Gajanan Shahadev Khandagale

Having received unconditional support from his family, the Khelo India University Games 2021 bronze medalist, Gajanan Shahadev Khandagale has his sights set on the Olympics. The 22-year-old wants to represent India at the colossal event. He explained:

"My aim is to go to the Olympics. Whether I got a job or not, I will not leave the sport behind. I will keep walking this path, irrespective of where I reach. I have made up my mind to give my 100 percent to this sport, and even if I fail, I will be proud of the hard work and the sacrifices I made to fulfill my dreams."

Also read: Swimmer Siva Sridhar wins two golds at Khelo India University Games 2021, eyes Asian Games spot

Quick Links

Edited by Ritwik Kumar
Be the first one to comment