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Shooting star lights up sky
Silver shines on home turf

Shreyasi Singh shows her medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Sunday

Shreyasi Singh has brought Gidhaur recognition and hope with one silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The town, around 12km west of Jamui, is basking in the glory of the silver medal in double trap the 22-year-old markswoman bagged on Sunday. The win has brought hope to the people that a dream of a rifle range would be realised here.

It was a dream of Shreyasi’s father (and former Union minister) late Digvijay Singh to have a rifle range in the town. Residents and old associates said Dada, as Singh was popularly known, always encouraged talents from the hinterlands.

“We are celebrating the success of our little girl but we are badly missing Dada who always encouraged rural talents,” said Umadhar Singh, a stationery shopowner at Gidhaur market in Jamui, a Maoist hotbed.

Manish Pandey, a social worker in Gidhaur, said: “People here are very excited about Shreyasi’s win in Glasgow. Part of the Bihar Rifle Association, she hoped to fulfil her father’s dream to open a rifle range in a backward place like Gidhaur. Dada had a dream to promote shooters, especially girls, from the hinterlands. He always encouraged and provided active patronage to his own daughters, Mansi and Shreyasi too. Mansi stopped participating in events, but Shreyasi still carries on the legacy of her father and grandfather.”

Her grandfather Kumar Surendra Singh and father were both presidents of the National Rifle Association of India in their lifetimes.

Old-timers recalled that Shreyasi and Mansi (her elder sister) used to visit Gidhaur as children and took lessons from their grandfather to hit the bullseye at the shooting range in a field behind their house.

Arun Kumar Bohra, a Jhajha-based social activist, welcomed her achievement, adding that it would inspire other girls from Jamui.

Awabhesh Kumar, a lawyer at Munger and former silver medal winner in National Shooting Championship (1994), however, said infrastructure bottlenecks were depriving budding sportspersons in Bihar of honing their talents.

“In states like Bihar, there is no proper place for shooting practice, which is very costly. I hope Shreyasi would contribute to the development of this sport,” he said.

BJP workers said Shreyasi, who was born and brought up in New Delhi, has been always interested in Gidhaur. During the last Lok Sabha elections, Shreyasi remained busy in round-the-clock campaigning for her mother Putul Kumari who contested the neighbouring Banka seat.

Apart from being happy with her achievements, the town is also elated that Shreyasi has silenced her opponents. She had failed to make a mark in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which prompted her detractors to claim her father’s contacts had brought her to the national stage.

Businessman Sanjoy Banka, who was closely associated with Singh, proudly said rather than paying her detractors attention, she concentrated on her talents and achieved success.

He added: “By her own merit, Shreyasi has given her opponents a befitting reply. In 2009, many had claimed that she had obtained the national scholarship in shooting for the influence of her father.”