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The shooter-turned-coach, Yoginder Pal Singh, reliving his dream through ‘Shoot To Win’

Yoginder Pal Singh and his Shoot To Win-it is a skillful combination. A combination that has been established by the sportsperson to give back to the sport that he loves so much.

Yoginder had been passionate about sports from his early childhood and he used to play any and every type of sport at school. Incidentally, he came across shooting in 2001 when on the suggestion of a family friend he visited Karni Singh Shooting Ranges in Delhi. There he practiced Air Pistol, but honestly, the event did not attract him. So he shifted to Air Rifle to look into things a bit differently. But that too did not motivate him to pursue shooting as his sport.

Yoginder Singh with his mentor Ronjon Sodhi

Then came the eventful Athens Olympics in 2004. It was in this year that Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore clinched the first individual silver medal for India and that in Double Trap shooting. Much inspired by this achievement, Singh ultimately picked up Double Trap as the event to follow professionally.

Yogi- as he is lovingly called by his mates- was in the junior level at that stage. For almost 3-4 years he practiced hard to get into the senior level. Though there was no such coach under whom he trained regularly but Singh is indebted to former World No 1 shooter Ronjon Sodhi who somewhat shaped his career. It is from him that Yogi learnt hardwork, determination and focus.

From 2008, Yoginder started participating in national competitions. He rose to No. 3 in national ranking. It was also a time when his game started flourishing. International medals kept coming in as he showed immense capability to contend with international competitors. Silver medal at Masters Meet Competition in 2011, Team bronze at 1st Asian Shotgun Championships 2011, gold in Malaysian Open 2011 are some of his noteworthy performances.

But Yoginder faced financial crisis while continuing an expensive sport like shooting. Hailing from a simple middle-class family,

Yoginder Singh as a coach

it was becoming difficult for him to meet the expenses for gun, ammunition, clay birds, shooting gear etc. In the midst of this financial crunch, Yogi participated in the trials for London Olympics in Delhi and Patiala in 2012 but could not qualify. He was not disappointed but continued living his Olympics dream.

It was at that point of his career, Yoginder turned to coaching to help a family friend in shooting. At the same time, he kept his preparations on for Rio Olympics 2016. But insufficient fund for preparation always bothered him. Thus he inclined more to coaching and unknowingly transformed himself into a responsible coach.

“Senior shooter Ronjan Sodhi advised me to take up coaching more seriously after seeing the young shooters getting support of a senior shooter like me. The most important time to get a coach is when you start off, because that is when you develop correct or incorrect technique.”

Yoginder Singh could not fulfil his own Olympic participation. But now he dreams for his students. He intends to produce world-class shooters and this is proved by many of his young students who are claiming national and international medals.

“I wish to train shooters who want to make the country proud and achieve medals for the country rather than looking for individual glory.”

To make matters easier for these youngsters, Yoginder has started his own venture Shoot To Win. It was established in 2011, to offer everything from the world of shooting to our professional shooters and aspiring ones. The organization is acting as a link between the shooters in India and companies abroad which produce world class shooting equipment.

“We at Shoot To Win, understand the difficulties faced by shooters when it comes to procuring equipment of international standards in India. So with our extensive knowledge and experience, we assure the shooters from India to get quality service and high-class equipment.”

Yoginder Singh giving coaching to young talent, Shapath Bharadwaj

Shoot To Win is the authorized dealer of brands from all over Europe and America. The legendary gun-making firm, Krienghoff, that makes finest rifles and shotguns since 1886 is available in India through Shoot To Win. Another world-class brand Noblesport Italia that manufactures cartridges of highest levels in both technology and reliability is also available here. Along with these, brands like Caesar Guerini, Briley and Negrini are accessible.

“I believe I’ve been fairly successful in getting the world class equipment to our shooters over the years. A lot of shooters I’ve trained and worked with have been getting equipment every now and then. I’m happy to have helped my fellow shooters from the Indian team over the years with equipment from Shoot To Win.”

Indian shooting has a bright future with some very talented shooters across the country. And coaches like Yoginder Singh make the scenario even brighter. They are also thankful to the recent approaches of Indian Government that are making things look different.

“Indian Government are taking some right steps towards uplifting Indian sports with its new schemes and programs but I feel sports science is needed in grass roots level. This would help young sportsmen to utilise the scientific methods later in their career to improve their performance rather than spending time in understanding it.”

About Poulomi Kundu

PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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