Pune: From National Cadet Corps (NCC) shooting range to international arena, Pooja Ghatkar has come a long way.
Winning gold during her NCC exercise was the point of inspiration and since then there was no turning back. But there is more than what meets the eye for Pooja, child of a single parent.
She was just seven when she lost her father, and since then it has been her mother, Bharati, who has toiled to raise Pooja.
Bharati shifted from Mumbai to Pune in the late 1990s to make ends meet through tuition.
Initially, Pooja trained under Gani Shaikh at the Pune District Rifle Association (PDRA). As she showed promising signs, Pooja was absorbed by Olympic Gold Quest.
It was a borrowed gun at PDRA with which Pooja made progress in the sport. She soon graduated into the Krida Probodhini, in Balewadi.
“It was difficult. Mom worked very hard and I owe her everything,” Pooja told dna upon arrival after winning gold at the seventh Asian Airgun Championship in Kuwait.
Her mother, Bharati, said: “I used to take tuitions to make ends meet. One day, I sat back and thought to myself, ‘I am teaching children to be something in their career, and why not give my child the same’. That inspired me and things have been working since then.”
Pooja also attributes her success to Anjali Bhagwat. “Didi (Anjali) is always there to give me all the guidance and has been my inspiration,” said Pooja.
Pooja has set her sights on this year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games later and bring glory for India.