Shirur hopes to find the right mix between playing and coaching

Rounds were still being fired even as Suma Shirur wrapped up her ten day long shooting camp at the Manav Rachna University campus on Tuesday. The thirty students — between the ages of 11 and 25 — were clearly eager to learn as much as they could from Shirur, a finalist in the 10m air rifle at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Even as the camp comes to an end, Shirur won't have much time to rest. She will continue coaching assignments at her academy in Mumbai and at the same time will be preparing for a host of competitions. "I have trials of the national team for the World Cups later this month. But my main goal will be qualifying for the World Championships at the end of this year," she says.

Shirur doesn't believe coaching hinders her performance as a shooter, rather they both complement each other."Coaching shouldn't be a bad thing. It is basically repeating what you have already learn't. So in a sense it is a sort of revision exercise. At the same time, I believe that actively shooting gives you an edge as a coach. I still think, that I have the ability to perform at the highest level. So I will continue shooting competitively as long as I have the ability" she says.

Balancing the two activities shouldn't be too much of a challenge for Shirur as she has been doing it for the last six years."

"Around 2006, I realised that while I had reached a certain level in shooting, I was getting more and more queries from young shooters who didn't have the knowledge and technical know—how on how to proceed with the sport," she says. Shirur believes that investing time on the young crop will produce good results. I have always felt that the next line of shooters will come from schools and colleges. So there is a need to make shooting popular at this level," she says.

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