PUNE: Mahima Agrawal doesn’t remember when she graduated from watching her favourite cartoon on television to reading sci-fi novels in her free time. But the young pistol shooter from Jabalpur has certainly marked footprints of her journey from being just a National Cadet Corps (NCC) shooter to a member of the Indian senior team.

Mahima, 19, started shooting in 2014 and in three years’ time she is all set to shoot in the women’s 10m air pistol events at four senior and two junior World Cups this year.

Although it looks like a sharp rise in her career graph, Mahima knows it wasn’t as easy as it might appear.

“Taking up shooting wasn’t just a recreational activity for me. It was about proving myself, and my mother’s belief in me,” Mahima said.

“My mother was a good shooter during her NCC days, but she couldn’t continue as there were not many options. She wanted me to take up the sport, but everybody around us – my relatives, my mother’s colleagues in the bank – told her not to make me a sportsperson. They said ‘I will only waste my time’. I never discussed it with my mother, but I had taken the challenge to prove everyone wrong,” said the first year BA student.

Like her mother Monica Rachel, Mahima too started with rifle at the NCC, but in 2014, she shifted to pistol. She joined Gagan Narang’s Gun For Glory academy in Jabalpur in 2015 and within a year, she made it to the India’s youth team (U-18) for Asian Airgun Championships in Iran.

“After the NCC training, we were contemplating either to shift to a bigger city or to get a personal coach here, but I was lucky that GFG started their Jabalpur branch and I got a strong platform to train. It happened just in time,” she said.

After shooting in the youth category, Mahima graduated to the junior category (U-21) last year and had made it to the Indian team. This year, she has qualified for both, junior and senior teams along with Manu Bhaker and Heena Sidhu.

Mahima feels the transition to senior category, which earlier used to be very tricky, is no more a hurdle.