New Delhi, Feb 22: It took, remarkably, just one Nationals and two trials for Anuradha, a lieutenant at Indian Navy and a pistol shooter for less than six months, to make the Indian team for an ISSF World Cup.
On February 26, she will be shooting in the women's 10m air rifle event alongside her fancied compatriots, Heena Sidhu and Manu Bhaker.
"Until now I have just had three outings- Nationals and two trials. This World Cup will be my fourth tournament. In September, I started shooting," she said.
For the logistics officer, it all happened in a flash.
"... Manu Bhaker also recently started, if she can do it, why can't I," Anuradha, a daughter of a retired Indian Air Force sergeant, said on the eve of the tournament. The 28-year-old shot high scores in the nationals and trials, leaving behind the likes of world junior champion Yashaswini Deswal, Shri Nivetha and Annu Raj Singh.
Like most diligent students, Anuradha followed her coach Prem's instructions to the tee, partly attributing her rapid progress to his tips.
"The only thing was to follow my coach's instructions. If he said that you will have to follow this thing and don't thing about score, I just followed that.
"Actually, in Navy there is a competition, like in schools and colleges you have extra curricular activities. So in that I used to fire with 5.56 mm Insas (rifle), I used to fire from 400 metres, it consists of a match," Anuradha, who was earlier a rifle shooter, said.
"It first happened that I played for INS Chilka in Odisha, I got a gold medal. Then they selected me to represent the command and I represented from southern naval command of Indian Navy and there also I bagged silver and gold medal. Then I got a letter from the Navy shooting team, I gave the Navy shooting team trials and then this happened."
The rest, as they say, is history. Indian Navy has produced a few well-known shooters, including Sanjeev Rajput and Omkar Singh. Anuradha, from Sonipat in Haryana, could be the next from the armed forces.
"We have a dedicated navy shooting team in Coimbatore, there is INS Agrani, and many shooters are there participating from all units of navy and I also participate in that. Coaches, physical conditioner everything is there, we do yoga, physical conditioning."
Asked how did the shooter, holding a B Com and MBD degree ended up in the armed forces.
"From my childhood only I was so inspired by my father's uniform, the charm, charisma and passion which he had in his eyes while wearing his uniform. I was very much determined that I will join armed forces.
"After my B Com and post graduation, I took the SSB exams and got selected. I am a logistics officer in Indian Navy, a lieutenant. I got through in 2014. I June, I will be completing five years."
When asked about the tournament, which includes some of the world's top shooters, Anuradha sounded excited.
"I am very excited because I will be getting to shoot with all the shooters who are from such a high level and high tempo of shooting. They are having experience of 22 years, 15 years and some new also like me, so I feel very blessed and excited also.
"I do the judgement of my shooting as per my training, whether I did justice with my training or not. I just love shooting and you can give any weapon.
"If I have trained hard then results will also be like that. I don't see that it's happening all of a sudden. I have put in the hard work and that is why I am here."