Indian athlete Akhil Sheoran: Want my name on the Wall of Fame at Jamia
The Indian shooter Akhil Sheoran, who won big at the recent ISSF World Championships, credits his formative years in Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University
To learn how to make one’s World Championship debut, follow athlete Akhil Sheoran’s journey. He recently won gold at 2023 ISSF World Shooting Championship at Baku, Azerbaijan along with compatriots Aishwary Pratap Tomar and Niraj Kumar in men’s 50m rifle 3 position team event with a bronze at men’s 50m rifle 3 position for an individual game. This noticeable entry in the international circuit has even qualified him for Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I wouldn’t lie, I did dream of this when I was pursuing MBA in Marketing and International Business at Jamia Millia Islamia (in 2015),” reminisces Sheoran, adding, “Jamia has a Wall of Fame with pictures of all the brilliant athletes who pursued their education from the university. I, too, wanted my picture up there one day... This is where I started dreaming big and Olympics is the answer!”
“In fact, I chose Jamia for my post grad because of its sports facilities. I had heard that the faculty is supportive of students like me, which was proven true when I met my teache Moonis Khan,” says the 28-year-old adding, “He helped me get a room in the hostel on campus so that I could save my travel time of travelling everyday from Saket... I even used to get 25% attendance for actively participating in sports, which helped me appear in the exams. That’s how I fuelled my passion with all this support from my the people around me.”
Born in Baraut, Uttar Pradesh, Sheoran was interested in the sport since childhood, and recalls, “Shooting as a sport is very popular in the city from where I belong. I adapted to it when I was in class VIII since my school had a shooting range.” Soon his parents considered his interest in the game as a meritorious mark on his college applications, and encouraged him in the sport that landed him in BA (Prog) at Hansraj College, Delhi University.
Sheoran’s experience during his #CampusKeDin brought him the required determination and vigour to achieve his goals. “I got in the Indian Team right when I started my graduation in 2012. Hansraj has a shooting range in the college, which helped me a lot in the initial stages as I could train after my classes within my college itself. I remember we used to get refreshment coupons of ₹30 that we could use to eat at the canteen (smiles),” says the shooter, adding, “Because my college was supportive, it helped me balance my sport with academics... I still miss chilling at the LP in Hansraj where we would sit and observe the whole crowd in the college. These were the moments that excited me during my formative days in DU. In fact, it helped me get in the right training routine. Even today, when I get in the prep routine, I’m able to handle the hustle and the pressure to perform well because I learnt all this during my college days.”