The skeet shooter spoke to Khel Now in an exclusive interview.

Italian coach Piero Genga was formerly tasked to groom the national junior team squad and that is when rising Indian skeet shooter Ganemat Sekhon was introduced to him.

Sekhon, who hogged the limelight by becoming the first Indian woman to bag a medal (bronze) at the World Cup shares a father-daughter relationship with the Italian coach. In fact, she largely credits Genga for moulding her technique and help her rise through the ranks.

Her first meeting with Genga came during a camp in Sydney 2018 and it is still bearing fruit.

“In the beginning, he was our junior coach. After that, we started speaking, and his training methods have worked for me. Also, before going to Sydney, we had a camp with him. He has done a lot for me. He is the main reason for my achievements till date,” Sekhon told Khel Now in an exclusive interview.

Italy has been the go-to place for skeet shooters. Ganemat Sekhon not only likes it for the weather and environment but also due to easier access to jackets, stocks and other key pieces of equipment.

“I train in Italy usually. It helps us with exposure to new shooters and ranges. For rifle and pistol events, the target is the same. But for us, it’s the weather, environment, background at the back that also play key roles. So when we keep shooting, we are not getting used to different weather, wind and background. So that helps. And because my coach is in Italy, I prefer to train there,” she describes.

And while skeet shooting in India is growing at a snail’s pace, Sekhon believes that through consistent performances, women shooters have earned equal opportunity and respect in the discipline.

“In the beginning, girls weren’t considered good. Mairaj (Khan) and Angad (Bajwa) were performing then. But now I think, we have shown quality in our performances. The coaches and team members give you respect after seeing those performances. The mixed team event is a good thing because we get to shoot with men,” she said.

It was, however, not an easy task for the Chandigarh-based shooter to rise to the podium as she has to travel to Patiala in order to access the nearest shooting range. And though shooting is a precision-based sport that requires inch-perfect focus, Shekhon chose to become a shooter as she found less pressure in it compared to rifle or pistol shooting.

“I wanted to take up an individual sport and that is why I started with rifle and pistol shooting. But it did not catch my interest as it needs a lot of focus. It didn’t really excite me,” Shekhon recalls.

“Then my father took me to Patiala to try shotgun. That’s when I saw skeet shooting and noticed how it was outdoors and there was talking in between the rounds. It really interested me as it seemed fun. You can talk to someone, crack a joke and still shoot,” she added. 

At present, Ganemat Shekhon is in no hurry but has her sights set on the 2024 Olympics.

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