Shooting happened to her by chance after a brush with contact sports and Manu Bhaker, a multifaceted pistol sensation eyeing global success at the tender age of 16, is also trying to leave behind her “intense love” for pummeling opponents.
After a series of eye-catching performances in recent times, Bhaker is hoping to leave a lasting impression at the ISSF World Cups (both junior and senior), Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympics.
“I am looking forward to these big events with hope. I would try and perform to the best of my ability and make a mark,” Bhaker told PTI during an interview.
In her quest, Bhaker, who hails from Dadri district in Haryana, trains at the Universal Senior Secondary School in Jhajjar for four to five hours every day.
For someone who took to shooting just a little over two years ago, breaking two long-standing national records in a span of less than a month would easily qualify as some achievement.
“Before shooting I was into boxing, thang ta – Manipuri martial art. I was playing those sports because I love bashing my opponents. I really enjoy it,” she said.
She was not just participating there but also thriving, winning quite a few medals in thang ta national championships, before boredom cut short her brush with contact sports.
An eye injury during a boxing bout, and her mother decided that she had had enough of “fighting”.
“I have full faith in my daughter’s talent and ability. Mark my words, she could be in the 2020 Olympics. Her life is more important than anything else, so I made her quit boxing and thang ta,” her mother said.
Bhaker has already stamped her class in the tournaments she competed in, and is now focussed on the upcoming events. Asked about her inclination to break records, Bhaker brushed it off as happenstance.
“It just happens. I don’t think about them. At times I don’t even know what the records are.