One of India’s brightest medal hopes for Tokyo Olympics, Manu Bhaker has been juggling shooting-related activities with studies at her hotel room in Zagreb, Croatia where the India shooters have flown for a 3-month long training-cum competition stint.
The day before she begins training in Croatia, Manu Bhaker will log in for her BA fourth semester exam. The 19-year-old, a student of political science in the Delhi University’s prestigious Lady Shri Ram College for Women, has been preparing for her exams, which get underway on May 18, 2 days before India compete in the European Championships as guest invitees.
The continental tournament and Bhaker’s exams will run almost concurrently but she is relieved that the dates of her events are not clashing with the papers. Along with the ammunition, shooting gear and coronavirus-related travel essentials, Bhaker travelled to Croatia with her books to prepare for the exams, and will send her answers using the mobile scanner after she has written them all.
“I will manage both, as I have done in the past. At least I don’t have competition on days I have my papers, so it’s manageable,” Manu Bhaker told The Press Trust of India.
“This is the year of the Olympics and I am fully focussed on how to give my best and do my country proud,” said Bhaker, a gold medallist at the Youth Olympics, ISSF World Cup and Commonwealth Games.
Her father, Ramkishan Bhaker, added, “She is very serious about her studies but if there is a clash between her competition and exams, then she chooses sports.”
According to the DU guidelines, sports persons who have represented India in competitions, recognised and funded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, are given direct admission without a sports trial. Ramkishan, a chief engineer at the merchant navy, has played a major role in giving his daughter the initial impetus needed to launch her career in the sport.
Bhaker has been selected for three events in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8. She will be fielded in both the women’s 25m pistol alongside the experienced Rahi Sarnobat, and in her pet 10m air pistol event with Yashaswini Singh Deswal. Bhaker will also represent India in the mixed team 10m pistol along with Saurabh Chaudhary.
After the continental event, the Indian shooters will compete in the ISSF World Cup, slated to be held in same city, Osijek, from June 22 to July 3.