Shooting is a very expensive sport to take up. Just ask Gagan Narang, one of India's most popular shooters. "My parents sold a plot of land in Hyderabad, which would have been worth crores now, to buy me my first gun," he had said in the lead up to Rio Olympics.
Funding is a massive challenge for those eager to take up shooting as a sport.
But do not tell that to Manilal Gohil, a rickhsaw driver in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
In what is a uplifting story of sacrifice and ambition, Manilal decided that letting his daughter pursue her dream is much more important saving the money for her marriage, according to this report in Times of India.
Mittal Gohil must be one proud daughter!
"My father and my family has sacrificed a lot just to fulfill my expensive hobby. After getting this rifle I will work hard to participate in international level and represent our country," Mittal was quoted as saying by ToI. The report also adds how the local police, while granting Mittal the license for the rifle, were pleasantly surprised to see a rickshaw driver's daughter own an expensive German rifle.
Mittal, who goes by Mittalbahen Gohil according to National Rifle Association of India records, is an up and coming shooter who has won the bronze medal in the 50m rifle prone team event in December 2013, barely a few months after she started training.
But the challenge doesn't end here for Manilal and Mittal. Shooting is a sport that requires a constant inflow of money to remain competitive. Right from affording good coaches, to buying ammunition and finding good practice ranges. Gagan, for instance, has talked about how he was lucky enough to have supporting parents but more importantly the support of Air India and Olympic Gold Quest.
Mittal will need exactly that, if she wants to make it big in a sport that is growing increasingly popular in the country but still not very affordable. Hopefully, this story will now reach people running the sport and stars such as Abhinav Bindra and Gagan, and Mittal will get more sustained support.
But she already has one thing a lot of youngsters growing up wanting to be a sportsperson in India -- her parents' backing.
Beti padhao. Beti khilao. The nation needs more of Manilal Gohlis!