Swaroop Mahavir Unhalkar, a Kolhapur-based rifle shooter, has been living with polio since childhood and did not own a rifle shooting kit until a year ago. But this didn’t stop him from being selected for the IPC Shooting World Cup 2017 by the Paralympic Committee of India in Delhi.
The event will be held in Bangkok from November 5 to 12 and will see a total of 11 shooters from the country, but Unhalkar will be the only one participating from Maharashtra. He was selected based on his remarkable performance in Kumar Surinder Singh Competition held in July this year in Delhi where he had scored 609 points and won the gold medal.
Unhalkar has also won three Gold and one Silver in four editions of the Gun For Glory Shooting Championship between 2012 and 2015. For the past four months, he has been training under coaches Pawan Singh and Anton Belak at Pune’s Balewadi Sports Complex and Guns For Glory Shooting Academy.
The Indian Express quotes him saying:
“If I am able to perform well in this championship , I will be eligible to participate in the World Championship, which will be held in South Korea in May. Ever since I started training under an international coach, my game and score has improved. I am targeting to score around 615 points and win medals.
Swaroop Unhalkar has been practicing rifle-shooting since 2009 but it is only in 2012 that he started participating in shooting competitions. The 30-year-old shooter did not even have his own equipment but went on to participate in events nevertheless. It was only in 2016 that Kolhapur MLA Chandrakant Patil volunteered to sponsor his kit and imported equipment costing about Rs.3 lakh.
“Earlier, I would use rifles that were 10 to 15 years old and were used by sports academy in Kolhapur. Till a few years ago, I didn’t even have my own equipment kit to participate in national and international rifle-shooting events.”
He has been a participant to USA Rifle Shooting World Cup 2014 and several other national games from 2012 onward. In February this year, he participated in the 2017 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup held in Al Ain, UAE.