Kolhapur born Rahi says "Shooting is my life" in an exclusive interview with TheSportsCampus.com, after bagging the Gold medal in the 25m Women's Pistol event in the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune.Training since she was 16 - from May 2007 to be exact, she normally puts in about 5-6 hours a day, sounding very 'teenager-ish' depending on her mood. Having already succeeded at the international level, she hopes to turn professional some day and compete at the highest level. "I've only just become, imagine how much better I'll be once I've trained for a few more years"Â she says.
At the 51st National Shooting Selection Camp (Dec'07 - Jan'08) held at Ahmedabad Rahi performed brilliantly, bagging 2 golds in the 10m pistol (team and individual events) and a Bronze in the 25m pistol. She shot a personal best of 571 in the 25m pistol, 21 points higher than her qualifying round score of 550 here in the Commonwealth Youth Games. Preferring her 10m Air Pistol to the 25m Sports Pistol event, Rahi was a little disappointed with the policy of selecting only 1 shooter per category - having shot a personal best of 375 in Ahmedabad - she could have been competing for Gold in that category as well, incidentally also won by a young Indian - Deepika Patel,
At the international level too she had excelled, winning the Super Cup at the Junior Championships held at Suhl, Germany in April 2008.
As part of her preparation for the games, she trained religiously spending a couple of months in Pune getting acclimatized to the venue and perfecting control over her environment. She also followed a strict diet plan and did a lot of stretching and yoga to get into shape. She insists that starting your day with 'Pranayam' is enough - you're ready to face anything. She also likes to listen to a lot of music in the breaks to ensure that she keeps herself focused and motivated. If she's shooting well she likes to listen to fast, peppy recent Bollywood favourites like Ba Khuda or Khuda Jane and if she's not performing to the best - she switches to sad, soulful songs in-sync with her present mood.
Sounding akin to a young Tendulkar, she has the memory of an elephant, rattling off the exact dates, venues and final finishing positions of all competitions she has participated in. Her sporting hero though is another cricketer, Rahul Dravid, she says rather wistfully!
Full of confidence, this young Shooting sensation turns 18 on the 30th of October. All of us at TSC wish her a very Happy Birthday and good luck with her career.
Rahi: Dil Chahta Hai, Tare Zameen Par
TSC: Other Sport?
Rahi: Reading...favourite book - Kite Runner