15-year-old fisherwoman turned ace shooter Manisha Keer, who has recently won gold in Junior Shotgun Cup in Finland
She is all of 15 and has already seen various shades of life — from being a fisherwoman battling poverty on a daily basis — to winning ten gold medals for her country as an ace junior shooter. But the fighter that she is, Manisha Keer refuses to wallow in self-pity over her financial woes. As she gears up to leave for Italy tonight for a forthcoming shotgun junior cup event, she gets up close and candid on her dreams and destination…
Fishing for life
Born in a large family in Bhopal, Manisha is the seventh child among her eight siblings (five sisters and three brothers), and all of them help their father Kailash in his daily fishing expeditions to earn a living. “I’m really proud of the fact that I help my dad in his work. In fact, that is one think that helps me stay focussed on the aim. I really feel shooting a target is as complicated as catching a fish,” says she rather philosophically.How does she manage to take on so many roles, when youngsters her age are busy studying or enjoying themselves with friends? A student of Std X, Manisha replies: “I make sure that I find time to study and have my own share of fun with my siblings. My elder sister Sona, who took me to the shooting academy at Bhopal for trials, is into water sports and my brothers are volleyball players. So I have managed to play all kinds of games while helping my father.”
A car for dad
But now this gutsy shooter wants to do a lot for her parents. “I bought a two-wheeler for my father last year after winning a gold in the nationals. And now my dream is to give a makeover to our simple home. I also want to buy a car for my father. I’m working towards these dreams,” says she. Shooting is an expensive sport, wherein equipment and sports gear cost a lot. So, how does she manage to meet these expenses? The youngster replies: “All the expenses are borne by my academy, so I don’t have to worry about the money.” And was she ever made to feel lesser by her fellow shooters coming from elite backgrounds? She says: “Never! I’m so confident that I would never be affected by superfluous things or people’s attitude. What matters is the talent, ultimately.”
One for Virat
By her own confession, Manisha is not much of a film buff. But she reveals that she has a cute crush on Virat Kohli and adds: “I like the way Virat plays and carries himself. I hope to have a boyfriend like him someday!”