AS A kid, Mankaranpreet Singh would often accompany his father Assistant Sub-Inspector Iqbal Singh to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s home in Chandigarh and to Bathinda. It was during one such visit that Mankaranpreet visited a shooting range at Bathinda and showed his desire to take up the sport in 2012. And the hard work of this student of St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh, paid off when he was named in the Indian team for the Junior World Cup to be held in Suhl, Germany, from April 29 to May 6.
“It was during a visit to Bathinda with my father that I met shooting coach Veerpal Kaur and she told my father to get me enrolled for shooting. I picked up pistol events and would train at Bathinda and Chandigarh shooting ranges. My father is in Punjab Police and he has always encouraged me to be a shooting player. The selection in the Indian team for the Junior World Cup is the happiest moment for my parents,” said Mankaranpreet, who will take part in the 50 M free pistol and 10 M air pistol events in Germany.
The 17-year-old Chandigarh shooter first won a silver medal in the 10 M air pistol in the Chandigarh State Championship in 2012 before winning three consecutive gold medals in the same championships later in the 50 M free pistol event. Last year saw Mankaranpreet play for Punjab and the youngster claimed the title in the Punjab State Championships.
“The silver medal in the Chandigarh State Championships gave me confidence and later I also opted for 50 M free pistol events. Pistol events are different from rifle events and I have to adjust my game plan each time I take part in both 10 M air pistol and 50 M free pistol. The Junior World Cup in Germany will see the participation of the world’s best young shooters and I will aim for a medal,” said Mankaranpreet.
Mankaranpreet is currently training in the national camp in New Delhi and was among the top three junior shooters after the trials this month. Apart from winning a medal at an individual level, he also won the team bronze medal in the 10 M air pistol event in School Nationals at Pune in 2014. He also won a gold medal in junior category in 50 M free pistol event in the last year’s nationals.
“I admire Abhinav Bindra. Even though he is a air rifle shooter, the way he shoots and wins medals is a great inspiration for me. I also idolise pistol shooter and multiple world medallist Jitu Rai. He has also won medals at the world level, and training along with him in the national camp means a lot for a youngster like me,” said Mankaranpreet.