Hitting the Bull's Eye got This Ace Sharpshooter Into Entrepreneur India's 35under35 List
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Blenders Pride Reserve Collection presents Entrepreneur's 35U35 list, which includes some path-breaking names from the field of entrepreneurship. Heena Sidhu has showcased exemplary grit and composure under pressure and brought laurels to the nation in multitude.
Heena Sidhu never thought of taking up shooting as a sport professionally. Her uncle owned an ammunitions shop in the suburban town of Patiala in Punjab and she found firing fascinating from an early age. “I liked shooting as a hobby. My uncle owned an ammunition shop and I was simply fond of picking a gun and firing away. Unlike cricket, we never thought of shooting as a sport. It was the medal of Abhinav Bindra that spurred me to adopt the sport professionally,” says the composed shooter. Five years after starting the sport in 2009, she broke the glass ceiling when she became the first Indian pistol shooter to win the coveted gold at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in 2014.
Heena was the World Record Holder in the 10 metre air pistol event with a final score of 203.8. Little did anyone know that the driving force which had fueled the enigma in her was her coach and husband Ronak Pandit. Heena had just set the international stage on fire but Ronak gave up his career to contrive excellence in Heena. “We ran into each other at several international and national competitions. It was the 2012 London Olympics that turned the tide for us as athletes and changed our career paths,” chimes in Ronak. The duo got hitched in 2013. Ronak, who had been making waves at the international level hanged his boots to devote himself completely to Heena’s coaching. “It did not matter if Heena was the one who hogged the limelight or me. We decided that whoever won the medal, it belonged to us,” Ronak says.
Raring to stamp her authority from a very tender age, she showcased consistent performances in the international tournaments earning a berth in the Olympics, twice. In 2009, the then 19-year-old Sidhu won a silver medal at the ISSF World Cup in Beijing. She won first place in the women’s 10 meter air pistol event at the national championship in Kerala. The duo has already charted a roadmap gearing up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Heena feels that except for the World Championship, 2018 has been a watershed year for her. “There was a change in the number of shots at the international level and juggling between the events took a toll on me. But once I made it to the final, I ensured that I have a medal in my kitty,” says Heena, who won two medals — 10m air pistol gold and 25m air pistol silver — in the Gold Coast and a 10m air pistol bronze in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.