Shooter Ria Rajeshwari targets bulls-eye

- December 18, 2023

The trap shooter, who has earned an Olympic berth, is carrying the legacy of her illustrious father and hopes to go one better at Paris next year

LEGACY: Ria Rajeshwari Kumar with father Randhir Singh, a former shooter and sports administrator

Ria Rajeshwari Kumar, the Asian Games medallist in women’s team trap, is among 13 Indian shooters to win the 2024 Olympic Games quota place so far. She is looking to go one notch higher at Paris next year.

Despite a hectic schedule to polish her skills for the Big Day — Paris Olympics are scheduled between July 26 and August 11 — the enthusiastic shooter is raring to go.

“Olympic Games are a big thing in India,” Rajeswari told Patriot.

“Winning an individual medal will be huge.”

Having nearly a decade of experience in handling shotgun weapons, visiting shooting ranges and competing at the international level, Rajeshwari knows what it takes to prepare for a major event. That is why the 31-year-old is leaving no stone unturned to make a memorable debut at the Olympics.

“I am using every ounce of strength each day to sharpen my competitive skills,” she added.

Her performance in the 2023 season has proved that she is on the right track in the build-up months to the quadrennial Games. Apart from earning the quota place, she twice improved the national record in women’s trap event.=

For advanced training she has also roped in David Kostelecky of Czech Republic as coach. The 48-year-old Kostelecky won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in men’s trap and silver at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held in 2021.

Rajeshwari visited Kostelecky’s hometown in Brno thrice this year for short training stints. The results were outstanding. She has been consistent and improved the national record to 124 out of 125 at the National Games held in Goa in November.

Rajeshwari’s commitment to excel at the 2024 Olympic Games can precisely be summed up that she wasn’t able to attend to her ailing father — Olympian and sports administrator Randhir Singh — who was in the hospital earlier this month. Rajeshwari had a challenging task at hand since she wanted to compete at the first domestic trials held recently at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges at optimum level. “It’s tough to prepare for the Olympics,” she added.


Rajeshwari has been putting in the hard work to stay healthy and improve her shooting skills. The second domestic trials will commence from December 15 in Bhopal and she is ready for that.

“I am enjoying my routine,” she says about her busy schedule. “If the focus is at the Olympics, then it becomes difficult to attend either family functions or chit-chat with friends.”

Going by Rajeshwari’s performance, it can be aptly said she has been following footsteps of her illustrious father Randhir Singh, who has won multiple international medals, including Asian Games and competed in four Olympic Games.

Rajeshwari’s best friends these days are coaching staff and physio.

“The coach chalks out plans while the physio keeps me fit to withstand rigorous training schedules,” she added.

“Sometimes it is challenging but the will to win keeps me going.”

As of now she will be competing in all the four World Cups scheduled for 2024 ahead of the Paris Olympic Games. “The main goal is to learn and stay focused,” she said. “There is no substitute for hard work.”

For the record, shotgun shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won silver in double trap at 2004 Athens Olympic Games, while air rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra won gold at 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Gagan Narang (air rifle) and Vijay Kumar won medals at the 2012 London Olympics Games. The Indian shooters returned empty handed from 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.


Rajeshwari will be the first Indian female shotgun shooter at the Games since Shagun Chaudhary qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The quota is for the country and not for an individual shooter.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has a selection policy for Olympic Games through which it considers the average scores over a period in order to send the best possible team. As of now, Rajeshwari has established herself as the leading candidate in women’s trap event. But she isn’t complacent.

“I have to sustain my good form to cement my place in the Indian contingent for the Olympic Games,” she said.

“I am learning to adapt to different playing conditions. That is why I want to compete in as many competitions as possible ahead of the Olympic Games.”

Her routine at the ranges some-times extends to five hours a day.

She often goes to the gym and has a healthy diet to replenish her fatigued muscles. To calm her mind, she does meditation. “It’s all in the game. I’m enjoying every bit of the routine,” she added.