NEW DELHI: The thought that he is the son of a champion shooter would weigh him down initially, also make him "conscious". But then, there was a change in perspective, and Manavaditya Singh Rathore started reaping the rewards.
Eight years since befriending guns, on the back of an impressive resume and inputs from his Olympic silver-medallist father Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, he is eyeing selection in the Indian senior team.
The 20-year-old won three gold medals in two days at the recently-concluded 63rd National Shotgun Shooting Championship here.
After showing promise in junior tournaments, Manavaditya is seeking to perform in next month's trials and stake a claim for selection in the senior team, which is teaming with an array of dazzling talent.
"I am delighted to have finished my last nationals in junior with this kind of performance," he told a news agency.
"Like any athlete my long-term goal is participate in the Olympics and win a medal there. But my immediate goal is to attend to made the Indian senior team," the trap shooter added.
Apart from his doctor mother, Manavaditya's father has been one of his biggest pillars of strength.
Asked if being the son of a father who has won internationals accolades in the sport helped, he said, "Initially, whenever I would take aim at tournaments, it would make me conscious. I used to feel a lot of things.
"But then I thought about it long and realised that I can benefit so much from him. Since my father has been a sportsman himself, he understands it better. Yes, he did often give me tips and shared his skills with me. That surely helped.
"I did try to build upon the experience and skills of my father and it really helped."
A Member of Parliament, the 49-year-old Rathore Senior served as the union sports minister from September 2017 to May 2019. Work keeps him but Rathore, winner of a plethora of medals in top international tournaments, makes sure that he has time for his promising son.
"A lot of times we go to the range together and shoot, and it also doubles up as picnic, so it's nice."
Born in a family with a military and sports background, it came as no surprise when Manavaditya held the gun for the first time.
Last Saturday, Manavaditya combined with Anushka Singh Bhati to claim the top honours in the mixed team trap event, his third straight gold in the tournament.
A student of Delhi University's Hansraj College, Manavaditya also won the individual junior men's trap event and the team title in the championship.
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