Sidhartha Babu is the state champion for rifle shooting and recently won the bronze medal at the 2021 Al Ain Para Sport World Shooting World Cup in the 50m event.

Sidhartha in a white sports wear, holding a rifle over his shoulder, looking sideways and in the background is a rocky way
Features Inspiration Monday, April 19, 2021 - 14:26
Written by  Cris

Holding the rifle in his hands, when he is just about to shoot, is when Sidhartha Babu finds the most peace. He finds a sense of calm behind the rifle and a clear focus that lets him forget everything else. This strange love has been in his life since he was a boy playing with toy guns. He never let go of his love for guns. Unsurprisingly, he grew up to be a professional shooter, a state champion, an international bronze medalist, and is now ready to participate in the 2021 Paralympics which is set to take place in Tokyo, Japan.

“It’s like meditation,” says Sidhartha on a Sunday morning from his place in Thiruvananthapuram. He has moved to his home state from Bengaluru because of the COVID-19 pandemic but his routine remains unaltered. There is a time for shooting practice, a time for building machines including wheelchairs, a time to just enjoy the world around him that he finds beautiful.

He has trained himself for years to be where he is – not just winning prizes at para-athletics events but also beating everyone else in the open category (including non-para athletes) to be state champion of rifle shooting. It’s not been easy, and Sidhartha dedicated years to train himself at it. He became paraplegic after a motorcycle accident some years ago. But his love for shooting prodded him on.

His first fascination for guns when he was a child, was not all that different from what other children his age felt. Only, something stuck and never went away as Sidhartha grew. From the guns that only made sounds, he switched to ones that could shoot stones or plastic bullets. At one point he made paper guns and used face powder as smoke so he could blow the powder on someone. He would even ride his bicycle to the armory shop and loiter outside, afraid to go in.

Sidhartha with his dog Crayon

“My parents didn’t want me to have guns as it was scary. So when I was in the ninth standard, I went on a hunger strike. It worked,” Sidhartha says, chuckling. Two years before that he fired from an air rifle for the first time and the pellets struck the compass mark made by a helpful cousin. “I was fascinated by the accuracy a machine could give,” he says.

His passion for machines appears just as high as the one for shooting. A graduate of the Thiruvananthapuram Engineering College, he has built his own wheelchair to shoot from. Of the two events that he is participating in, in the Paralympics later this year, one will have him shoot from the wheelchair and the other from the floor. He secured a quota place for the event in Tokyo at the 2019 Sydney World Championship.

“I am proud to be from Kerala and doing this for my state. I am also proud when for an international event the Indian flag goes up as you win,” says Sidhartha. Most recently, in March he won the bronze medal for India at the 2021 Al Ain Para Sport World Shooting World Cup in the 50 metre event.

Before his accident, Sidhartha– a trained martial artist– had won various karate and kickboxing national championships

Also read: Meet Kozhikode's football sensation, 19-yr-old Muhammed Nemil

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