A 78-year-old Indian woman is believed to be the world’s oldest female professional sharpshooter.
Chandro Tomar has entered and won over 25 national shooting championships across India as well as raising 6 children and 15 grandchildren.
“I wanted to do something useful with my life and show people my capabilities, As soon as I shot my first pistol I was hooked. And now I’ve shown everyone there are no disadvantages to my age. If you’re focused you can do anything,” she said.
There’s no harm in trying, as they say.
“As I was waiting around I decided to have a go. The coach spotted me and was amazed at my aim with the pistol. He told me to come back so I did. Initially I was just supporting my granddaughter in her shooting practice but I enjoyed it so much it became a passion and I looked forward to going to the shooting club every week,” she said.
Women in Indian villages have traditionally been relegated to farm and household work, given scant regard for their position in society. Especially the province that Chandro Tomar hails for, Haryana, is heavily patriarchal and infamous for the suppression of its women. This makes Tomar’s achievement all the more creditable.
While Tomar tended to her daily chores on her farm and raised her family, she practiced her shooting aim whenever she could, using stones and throwing them at water bottles.
“I was surprised when I saw a pensioner in our group but she picked up the sport of 10m shooting with an air gun pretty quickly,” the club’s coach said.
“She was so good some of the men stopped turning up altogether to avoid being humiliated by her, an old woman. She has the ultimate skill, a steady hand and a sharp eye,” he said. “Her dedication to the sport is amazing, and her concentration is something youngsters can learn a lot from”.
Now she’s a national treasure, known throughout India for her skill, even winning gold at the Veteran Shooting Championship held in Chennai, India.
10m air pistol competitive shooting is a game that entails very little physical movement, so is easy for people of all ages and sizes to take it up as a sport.
If Chandro Tomar can do it, then why not you?
Shooting is most popular as a sport in the north Indian states of Haryana and Punjab. New and modern shooting ranges in Jalandhar, Punjab offer budding shooters an exciting opportunity to excel in the field of competitive 10m shooting. National level coaches give training in the ranges made with Olympic standards, and patrons get to prepare for the state and national level shooting championships.