Bullets to Bullseyes – Naib Subedar Sandeep Singh’s Journey To Paris Olympics 2024

Sandeep Singh is a part of the Indian squad for the Paris Olympics with scores of 634.4, 632.6, and 631.6 having made his debut earlier this year for India.

While competing in the final of the shooting Olympic Selection trials at the Madhya Pradesh Shooting Range in Bhopal, Sandeep Singh encountered an unusual situation. Shooting may be a sport of dealing with pressure, and with five athletes vying for two slots on the Indian Olympic team, the men’s 10m air rifle category had plenty of that.

Sandeep Singh: Biography And Achievements

The Self Belief

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For Sandeep Singh, the problem was not too much pressure, but too little. With qualification scores of 634.4, 632.6, and 631.6 in the first three selection trials, the 28-year-old was almost certain to receive the highest best-of-three average score, which would determine his selection to the Indian team.

The Reason

That lack of pressure influenced his performance, as he shot a mediocre 628.3. Despite this, his three best scores in the last few weeks were enough to put him top.

He beat Olympic quota winner Arjun Babuta and World champion Rudranksh Patil, both of whom started with an extra point, to secure a ticket at the Paris 2024 Games.

Sandeep Singh claimed he wasn’t thinking about the Olympics while shooting. He almost always speeds through his competitions, returning to his seat and taking off his shooting jacket and trousers while others are barely starting their concluding series.

The Debut

For a soldier who has served on the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, an air-conditioned indoor shooting range, even with an Olympic quota on the line, must feel like a battle with considerably fewer consequences. Naib Subedar Sandeep Singh began participating for India at the international level late last year and was in top form, scoring 633.4 points in his most recent competition, the Asian Championships earlier this year.

From a Cross-Country Athlete to a Shooter.

The Journey

Growing up in Behbal Khurd, a village near Punjab’s Faridkot, Sandeep Singh became a cross-country athlete largely to prepare for the army recruiting test.

But his enthusiasm for running came at the expense of his safety. Running at that hour was usually perilous since there were so many drug users on the streets. As a result, there have been numerous robberies around our village. Fortunately, nothing occurred to him.

The Start

Sandeep’s Speed On the track, he was able to join the army in 2014 as a sipahi (sepoy) in the Sikh Light Infantry. However, his athletic career came to an end shortly thereafter. For Sandeep, shooting is more of an acquired taste. His tolerance and mental fortitude have been tried in the most difficult ways possible. Following a strong start to his career, Sandeep was named to the Olympic reserve team ahead of the Tokyo Games.

Also Read: Indian shooting triumph: Varun Tomar, Esha Singh clinch Paris 2024 Olympic Quotas

The Setback

Then, unexpectedly, in 2020, he failed a dope test, testing positive for a beta blocker alongside a handful of other army athletes. Sandeep denies taking anything. Faced with a ban from the sport, Sandeep was fired from the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow (Dr Ambedkar Nagar cantonment in Indore), where he trained. He returned to his troop, the Sikh Light Infantry, in Siachen.

The Second Chance

Sandeep’s luck changed when a senior officer decided his skills were more suited for the shooting range than the frigid deserts of the Himalayas. However, he did not need to be concerned. In his first qualification round at the Air Force Shooting Range in New Delhi, he shot 636 and continued to fire high scores, sometimes reaching 639.

Also Read: What is the cost of shooting equipment in the Olympics?

The Performance

His scores remained strong as he played for the national team for the first time at the ISSF World Cups in Rio de Janeiro and Granada, as well as the Asian Championships, where he qualified with a 633.4 earlier this year.

These outcomes gave him the confidence that he could reproduce. His domestic performances have also extended to the international stage. It also calmed any nerves he could have had before the selection trials. Sandeep Singh has yet to tell his parents about his activities. While Sandeep Singh had little knowledge of shooting or the Olympics until a few years ago, he is now excited about the possibility.

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