Pune, Oct 16 (IANS) After striking gold in the 10 metres air-pistol event in the Youth Commonwealth Games here, Deepika Patel has now set her sights on the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
With just two years left for the big event, the 17-year-old from Varanasi feels her performance here will help her graduate to a higher level and will be shooting alongside her idol Anjali Bhagwat.
'The gold will boost my career. Now I will start preparing for the Commonwealth Games. But my ultimate dream is to represent India at the Olympics and I will give my best to be at the London Games in 2012,' a calm and composed Deepika told IANS.
For the last five years Deepika has been balancing her shooting and studies. She is now in the 12th standard and wants to concentrate fully on shooting once her board exams are over.
'This year is very crucial for me. It is tough to manage between school and practice, but my teachers are very cooperative. I have not much time left for my board exams. Now I will concentrate on my studies and take up shooting after the boards,' she said.
She attributes her success to her parents and coach.
'I feel blessed. My coach S.P Bhattacharya , my entire family and the District Rifle club Varanasi taught me small things and I am successful today because of their help,' said the teenager.
Like Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, Deepika's father Mahesh has built a 10 metres personal shooting range for her on the terrace of their house in Varanasi.
'The range was the best gift I got from my father. I don't have to depend on anyone for training. This sport involves a lot of mental training and my coach helps me with it. I do a little bit of yoga but, mostly it is positive thinking which keeps me going,' she added.
Her father Mahesh, who runs a handloom mill in Varanasi, introduced Deepika to shooting at the age of eight.
'We are a big joint family, I have one boy and two girls, Deepika is the eldest. I had always dreamt big for my kids. After India's ace shooter Jaspal Rana shot to fame I decided my kids will follow suit,' he said.
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