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Sandeep Singh: Indian shooter forged in Siachen aims gold at 2024 Olympics

Sandeep Singh: Indian shooter forged in Siachen aims gold at 2024 Olympics

New Delhi, July 1 (SocialNews.XYZ) Enduring temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius, India's top 10m rifle shooter Sandeep Singh found his resolve in the icy desolation of Siachen, the world's highest battlefield, and spent months living in a tent, cooking his own meals, and contemplating his future.

At 28, Sandeep has already faced and conquered immense challenges. Earlier this year, he secured a berth for the Paris Olympics in the 10m air rifle event by triumphing in the fiercely competitive Olympic Selection Trials at New Delhi, Bhopal topping ahead of former world champion Rudrankksh Patil, Tokyo Olympian Divyansh Singh Panwar and Olympic quota winner Arjun Babuta.


"The trials were very good from my point of view and finishing on top was a relief to my journey but I believe my best is yet to come. To claim the quota for the Paris Olympics was my only aim and now since I will be representing India, I will try my best to secure a gold medal for the country," said Sandeep Singh on the back-off Paris Olympic kit launch and send-off ceremony held by IOA.

The struggle began in his early years in Faridkot district, where Sandeep grew up in a lower-middle-class family. His father worked as a daily wager, and his two brothers are bike mechanics. With no background in sports, Sandeep's path to becoming an elite shooter was unconventional. He used to run cross-country twice a day, covering 7-8 kilometers, to prepare for an Army entrance exam. This rigorous routine eventually paid off, earning him a position as a Sepoy in the Indian Army.

It was during his training in the Army that Sandeep first encountered shooting. Handling an INSAS rifle, an assault rifle that doubles as a light machine gun, he demonstrated remarkable aptitude. His superiors noticed his talent and encouraged him to pursue competitive shooting. This led to his participation in competitions at the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow, where he won several medals.

His success at Mhow paved the way for national recognition. In 2018, Sandeep won a silver medal at the National Championships, a victory that secured his promotion to Havaldar and a place in the national shooting squad. Despite being a reserve shooter for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, a subsequent dip in form saw him return to his unit, eventually leading to his posting in Siachen for six months between 2021 and 2022.

"I was really disappointed with my performance after not making the cut for the Tokyo Olympics and for that mental preparation, I went to serve in the Army. The greatest honour for me is to represent my country at the highest level and serving in the Indian Army has taught me the importance of it," he recalls.

In April-May of 2024, Sandeep faced the ultimate test at the Olympic Selection Trials. Competing against world champion shooter Rudrankksh Patil, Sandeep relied on his rigorous training and unyielding focus. He topped the trials with stunning scores in qualification -- 634.4, 632.6, 631.6 and 628.3 (out of a possible 654), the latter the lowest after having all but qualified on his first three scores - which gave him an edge even without the bonus points.

However, Sandeep remains determined to perform better in Paris and believes that his best is yet to come. "I have been training hard and I have shot more than the points which I scored in the trials. I am training on my concentration and focus and will try to implement it in the Olympics.

Source: IANS

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Sandeep Singh: Indian shooter forged in Siachen aims gold at 2024 Olympics

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