Kajal Saini is an Indian Rifle Shooter who has represented India on an International Level. Hailing from Rohtak in Haryana, she is a Rifle shooter whose World Rank is 53. She has participated in many shooting events and has got many laurels to her name.
Women have made India proud in many fields. Be it sports, medicine, academics, activism, or politics. When it comes to sports, there is a long list of women who have kept the Indian flag flying high. The fact that they had to fight so many factors to achieve their dreams makes their contribution only more special. Kajal Saini proves as the best example and inspiration for many who would want to pursue their dreams with sheer hard work and passion to attain and fulfill her dreams and make India proud.
In her conversation with Icy Tales, Kajal Saini spoke about her shooting journey, her opinion on gender-based stereotypes in sports, and her future plans in the shooting field.
“I became an Athlete by chance” – Kajal Saini
Kajal Saini claims that she had become an athlete by chance and had no prior intentions of choosing sports as her career. She hails from a family that glorifies learning, studying, and scoring good marks. She also remembers when her mother joined the NCC in college but couldn’t participate in any camps or complete her training.
She says that her mother always wanted to finish her NCC formalities. Seeing this, Kajal Saini joined the NCC and she was not a fan of it. She disliked how strict the routine was and that she had to follow many rules. During one of her NCC camps, there was a firing event in which all cadets had to participate. She was terrified as she had never seen a gun before.
Although she didn’t want to shoot, she did. Fortunately, in her first grouping itself, she scored very close targets by chance. There was another round the next day, and she came first in that category. Gradually, she went for many more rounds and discovered her talent. She proudly states that NCC gave her this platform.
“I then participated in the National Selection Round and made my way into the National Team. I feel that shooting was in my destiny and it was meant to happen to me.”
“It is every athlete’s dream to be a part of the Indian Team, and mine came true” – Kajal Saini
Kajal Saini started her career by participating in the senior category. She claims that, unlike the junior category, the senior group has a lot of competition. “There are world champions and other top players from India competing in the same category as me, so I was not very confident about my selection.”
She is very grateful that she has a very supportive family as her father helped her to feel confident during times when she felt low. “My father would tell me to focus on my training and not get intimated by anyone”.
She did her first major shooting event in 2014 and in 2015 she came in overall 4th position. In 2016, she started her national-level training but sometimes due to very less difference in points, she would miss her position in the squad. In the year 2019, she finally made it into the Indian Shooting Team and started playing in international tournaments.”
“The night before the results for the nationals came, I was praying and kept calculating my scores. The next morning, when I heard that I got selected, I couldn’t control myself and it was like a dream come true. I was very happy because I had worked so hard and put a lot of effort to make this moment come alive”.
“Behind 1 Successful International Medal, there are more than 50 unsuccessful attempts” – Kajal Saini
Kajal Saini feels that there is a lot of demotivating environment if a player doesn’t win. She feels that nobody respects the fact that a player has failed so many times in order to win just one match. “To feel good, we must be surrounded by people who keep us motivated”, she says.
She believes that one must always be with positive people who can support you when one needs the most support. “When you are successful, there are more than 1000 well-wishers but when you fail, you have less than 10 people supporting you”, she says.
She urges people to find the right company that can motivate them to make a comeback in your game. She also advocates sticking to family, as there are no better supporters than them. Her motto in life is to never ever give up, no matter what the situation is.
“Proper education will motivate more girls to take part in sports” – Kajal Saini
Kajal Saini feels that sports education is lacking in the country which is why many girls are not coming forward to participate in sports. She also points out that some families are very rigid and they don’t allow their daughters to pursue the line of sports.
She compels families to be very open and allow their children to do what they love. “Just like I told my father that I want to pursue shooting, parents must be more open to such discussions”, she says. She also highlighted how sometimes expenses can be very high. She hails from a middle-class family so affording the training was very expensive for her.
“I would like to thank my father because he did not think even for a minute about the fees. He knew that my happiness lies there, and he trusted me. This is how parents should be supportive of their children”, she says. She also remembers when a lot of people taunted her parents for spending so much money on her training but she was always encouraged to do the things that she liked doing.
She also appreciated the males in her family as they are all mature and well-educated. In a country where the majority of families are male-dominated, Kajal Saini hopes that society changes and males understand the importance of empowering women.
“Rifle Shooting is like a drug that intoxicates me” – Kajal Saini
Kajal Saini is very happy about the fact that shooting is a sport where age-factor doesn’t come much into play. “Unlike other sports like cricket and football, shooting doesn’t require much stamina, so age is not a barrier at all”, she says.
She has also seen many 45-year-olds do shooting and maintain a good physique. She also states that she cannot see herself doing anything apart from shooting as she has developed a love for it. “No matter how good or bad my shooting becomes, I will always be a shooter”, she says.
Kajal Saini aims to motivate more girls like her to pursue a career of their choice. Speaking of her professional goals, she wishes to train more, work harder and make Indian proud by winning many international medals.
Check out the whole conversation with Kajal Saini on our YouTube Channel.