Behind Mampiís success story, a fatherís driving force

On Saturday in Nanchung, China, India's senior shooting team clinched the silver medal at the Asian Air Gun Championship. Mampi Das, 16, had a big role to play in the victory.

Till Sunday morning, Mampi's father Manik Das, a bus driver with the West Bengal State Road Transport Corporation, however, had no idea about his daughter's success as he was busy ferrying passengers. When he was finally apprised of his achievement, the proud father said, "We have been waiting for a moment like this. We always knew that Mampi was talented but this medal has given the world a glimpse of her skill," he said.

Manik has played quite an important role in his daughter's progress as one of India's most highly rated female shooters. The father who drives long-haul routes had to take a loan to finance the purchase of Mampi's first rifle and her kit. Till September this year Mampi used the five-year-old rifle her father bought her and has only recently gone in for an upgrade.

The 16-year-old girl said, "My father wasn't too convinced about my talent as a shooter when I started but he supported me nonetheless," she said. "He is still paying back the loans and I wanted to win to justify his faith in me."

Mampi had her first taste of shooting when she was 11-years-old and first entered the Dum Dum shooting range along with her mother five years ago. The scene could not have been more desolate. "At my first time on the range there were no shooters shooting. There was a single coach. He taught me how to hold a rifle and how to load the pellet," says Mampi. Twenty days after her first exposure to the sport, she won a silver medal in the West Bengal state championships.

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