Shooting is a lonely sport. Quite often, it is only about spending time with your own weapons, equipment and training. Pistol shooter Abhishek Verma, 30, is also one of those who prefers solitude. An engineer in computer science, which was followed up with a degree in law, he later took to shooting as a hobby.
Today, that hobby has changed into passion as he trains for the postponed Tokyo Olympics. It is not easy to get long quotes from the bespectacled man, but be sure he talks sense in whatever he says.
Now based in Chandigarh as his father has a transferable job, Abhishek faces a new challenge using his air pistol. The house he lives in is not big enough to build a makeshift indoor range, so he has found other ways to improvise.
“After moving to Chandigarh recently, the lockdown began. Things have become tougher but I continue to follow what my coach (Jaspal Rana) tells me. In the normal course, I would train around four hours at the ranges. Now, it is more of dry pistol firing, though I am working a lot on my fitness and meditation,” Abhishek told Mail Today.
He begins his day with Surya Namaskar and meditation. Then he spends time on his fitness with the terra band and then spends time in dry firing. “Dry firing is different, basically to get the rhythm of what I would usually do inside the range. Once in three days, I do outdoor training, fire around 40 to 50 shots on paper targets,” he said.
Conditions outside are very different but he has no choice at present. “Because of the lockdown, my equipment (Suiss Ascor) is stuck in Faridabad. It had been ordered for me by OGQ. If the lockdown ends soon, then I can get the equipment. I will then break the wall in my house to get the 10-metres distance and then train. I have also requested TOPS through my federation (NRAI) for a similar equipment to be delivered to me in Chandigarh,” he said. As of Wednesday evening, the equipment had not arrived.
Despite the limitations, Abhishek is not flustered. Asked if he has faced a situation like this before, he said no. “I am one of those who trains 365 days in a year. When I lived in Gurugram, it was different, I had plenty of time for all my shooting activity. I am waiting for the computerised shooting range and once it comes, things should get better. Apart from my morning fitness drill I also have an evening session online with my trainer. I have purchased some equipment from Decathlon and the evening session is almost 90 minutes,”said Abhishek.
As one who does not like to feel bored, he is also learning German. “Since we used to travel a lot to Germany, I thought It would be good to learn the language. I am doing it online,” he said.
Asked if he is in touch with law books, he said it was only to brush up. “Yes, I do read the Supreme Court judgments as well which are published online,” said Abhishek, who does not want to waste any time.
How does he see life at the ranges again after the lockdown ends? “I am sure it will be a new experience when we go back to the ranges,” he said.
The 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist who won two ISSF World Cup medals in 2019 is doing everything to keep the rhythm going. In his own words, “It is mentally to stay in sync.”