Karishma's love story with guns

Like most girls in India, my exposure to any sort of physical activity was limited to playing badminton in the gullies near my house. I wasn’t a fitness freak, nor was I into any kind of sports. I was happy going to school, hanging with my friends, watching TV - the usual. One unsuspecting day, I tagged along with a colleague to a shooting range, little did I know that my innocent curiosity of wanting to know how it felt to hold a gun in my hand, would change everything  I knew, loved or wanted from my life.

I had fallen in love- a crazy, passionate, stupid love where nothing else mattered. As I held him in my arms the world seemed to vanish and the only thing that mattered was him - that rifle resting on my shoulder, the trigger between my fingers and his addictive smell of burning gunpowder. Thus began my adventure as an air-rifle shooting athlete. After that day at the shooting range, I decided to immerse myself completely into this sport. I had decided, I wouldn’t stop till I make it to the India team and represent my country. Dehradun had limited options to pursue shooting, so I picked up all my belongings and moved to Pune. I would train 12 hours a day, holding a 5 kg rifle on my shoulder sometimes for 4 hours at a stretch. I realized I wasn’t too bad at shooting. I won my first medal, a Silver at the district level and went on to compete and win at the state and national levels. As my ambition became bigger, competition also increased exponentially. I lost a chance in the India team trials because I missed accuracy by 0.5 millimetres. The tougher the competition, the more I would pressure myself. I would get nervous, and nerves are a shooter's biggest enemy. Have you wondered, why most shooters look so emotionless? Nerves release adrenaline which increases heart rate, resulting in unwanted energy and movement in the body. As we press the trigger, we hold our breath and reduce our heart beat to have one smooth motionless shot. The difference between medals is often just 0.1mm. If I were to compete at centre stage I knew I had to work on my nerves and that is how Yoga waltzed into my life. What started as an aid to my passion for shooting soon became another passion in my life. I also started enjoying imparting my knowledge and love for yoga to others.

As life stands today, my time outside of the shooting range - training for the 2024 Olympics, I spend as a yoga coach for shooters of the 2021 Olympics Indian team. Till this day, every-time I hold him in my arms I fall in love again - “Oh, you belong to me, my rifle, my precious,” - Karishma Bisht @be_the_winner_for_life_ on IG

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