Panaji: Ten-year-old Yash Padloskar comes across as a 'minor' but refreshing exception
in a state where shooting is often viewed as an art practised by
politicians, who spit and rattle out a volley of blanks on every
The 'pocket-sized' shooting prodigy, who hails from Mapusa, about
10 km from here, blazed a fiery trail in Ranchi, where he competed
with the best shooters in the country at the 34th National Games.
He finished 34th among the total 80 competitors.
All of 10, Yash toting an air rifle was a man among the boys, as
he competed in the open category and participated in the
qualifying round of the 10 meter air rifle event.
Speaking to IANS, his father Yogeshwar said that both he and his
son have taken the National Games performance in their stride.
"He is a determined lad. Learning shooting did not come easy. We
have no private shooting range of any kind in Goa. We used to
travel six hours to Kolhapur (in Maharashtra) sometimes to
practice the sport. That was three years ago," Yogeshwar said.
Yash soon developed a passion for the polished wood-stock and the
shiny, bullet-spouting barrel.
But tired after those six-hour, one-way journeys to the shooting
range at Kolhapur, Yogeshwar then took a big, big decision.
Yogeshwar, who trades iron ore for a living, started a shooting
gallery of his own in Mapusa in 2009. And he named it after his
son, a Class 5 student.
When youngsters his age kicked football and played computer games,
Yash pumped lead pellets into card paper targets for hours every
"It was a purely private initiative. There is not a penny I have
received from the government. I have opened it for the use of
other shooting enthusiasts," said Yogeshwar, who is himself an
accomplished shooter and has won several medals at the national
"I'm a shooter myself, but it is Yash's own enthusiasm and love
for the sport that is spurring him on. He has taken a genuine
interest. Many say it is because of my insistence that he is doing
this. But no; he has taken to it, I'm only here to support him,"
the father-cum-coach said.
Yogeshwar has the distinction of winning three gold medals in the
10 metre air rifle event in the state in the open category.
As a coach, Padloskar senior has been a tough taskmaster. He
ensures that Yash practises for two hours or more every day. The
wonder kid has his own rifle, which costs Rs.1.5 lakh and weighs
The shooting gear may be a tad too heavy for Yash who barely
weighs 40 kg, but a supporting stand and special shooting attire
helps him keep his cool and focus on the target.
The 'Yash shooting academy' is well equipped with air rifles, air
pistols, electronic target runners, as well as pipe-side air
rifles, which are used in the Olympics and German made Anschutz
"I want to make Yash India's next Gagan Narang (world record
holding shooter). I want to give my son the best and would not
hesitate to even send him abroad," Yogeshwar said.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)