'College senior' Neeraj Chopra is an inspiration for me, says Arjun Babuta

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Young shooter Arjun Babuta hopes to 'deliver' a positive trend at the World Championship and obtain an Olympic quota. He is supported by Abhinav Bindra and motivated by his college senior Neeraj Chopra. The 23-year-old has been a key player in nation's outstanding performance at ISSF World Cup.

"Neeraj (Chopra) and I studied at the same college in Chandigarh, although he was a batch senior to me. But what he achieved at the Olympic Games in 2020 was a huge motivating factor for athletes like me and he is indeed a huge inspiration," Arjun said.

"Sport is very difficult for young athletes who go through the grind every single day. But Neeraj's historic feat has lifted an entire generation of young athletes, including me, who are hungrier than ever to win something for India in the grandest stage," he added. With any luck, Babuta's two-gold performance in the World Cup will get him a spot on the Indian team for the 2017 World Championships in Cairo.

His major "objective in life" at the moment, he claimed, is getting to the Olympic Games in Paris.  Arjun Babuta, a shooter, claims that Neeraj Chopra is one of his biggest influences. "I was 19 when I missed the Tokyo Olympics qualifying event in 2019. The pain and agony were excruciating, but I practiced round-the-clock to ensure that I win a medal at the World Cup," Arjun said.

"The prime focus, right now, is to deliver a top performance at the World Championships and qualify for the Paris Olympics," he added.

The 23-year-old claimed that Abhinav Bindra's historic gold medal victory in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he became the first Indian to win an individual medal at the Games, was something he had heard about since he was a young child. "His achievements moulded me as a shooter. A towering personality like him who changed Indian sports in 2008, taught me so many things about life and sport," Arjun remarked.

The legendary Lt Col JS Dhillon (retd), who coached Bindra as a rookie in 1995, trained Arjun during his formative years. "Dhillon Sir's coaching lessons have taken me where I am today. He told me long back that I can become the next Abhinav Bindra if I perform consistently and also gifted me his shooting equipment," Arjun said.

Arjun claimed that Thomas Farnik's appointment as the chief foreign rifle instructor came at a perfect time and significantly aided in the development of his skills. "Thomas sir (Farnik) has had a huge positive impact on my performances at this World Cup. His love for the game, the role he plays as a mentor, is simply outstanding," Arjun said.

"The roles played by Joydeep sir (Karmakar) and Suma (Shirur) have been amazing too," he said. After earning his first-ever gold medals for India, Arjun remarked that while his life has changed as an athlete, he will keep training hard in order to pursue even greater goals.

"It feels like a dream but the journey has just begun for me. I want to continue working hard and achieve far bigger dreams to make my country proud," Arjun said. "I would like to dedicate this win to my parents back home. They did everything when my chips were down. Their constant support and backing have taken me where I am right now and I cannot be more grateful to them," Arjun signed off.

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