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Anisa Sayyed: From ticket-checker to shooting champion

Wednesday, October 06, 2010 07:56:33 PM, Adnan Alvi

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Anisa Sayyed has shot to fame with the gold medal which she won along with Rahi in the shooting event at Commonwealth Games.

It has not been an easy journey for the shooter who hails from Pune. She was employed with the Indian Railways and checked passenger tickets at Vile Parle station in Mumbai, but despite her pleas railway officials had refused to give her transfer to Delhi after her husband's posting to the national capital.

Determined that she would pursue her passion, Anisa quit the job and left for Delhi. Anisa, who hails from middle-class Muslim family, lived in a small quarter in Pune. It was well over a decade ago that she decided to take up pistol shooting as a professional sport and the medal is a result of her daily toil for almost 12 years

Micky Aigner reports that how her patience and her coach Ghani Sheikh's able guidance brought the girl to national sporting scene. Anisa won gold at the South Asian Federation Medal in 2004 and has also broken the national record with her score of 585/600 which is better than her commonwealth show 574/600.

Not everybody is born with a silverspoon in the mouth like say Abhinav Bindra [no question of belittling his contribution] whose multi-millionaire father provided him all possible infrastructure and facilities to practise. Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayyed have battled against all odds, against the system, against unhelpful authorities and then won.

The Indian shooters defeated the Australians 1158-1148 in the 25 m pistol shooting on the second day of Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Rahi Sarnobat is also a small-town girl hailing from Kolhapur. Anisa [her surname has also been spelt as Sayed and Saeed] regrets that all her pleas for transfer fell on deaf years despite all her efforts for two years.

"I am grateful to my husband's company that gave me sponsorship", she tells Ajai Masand in this report. However, she stands vindicated as her former organisation, the Railways, have now announced a reward for her achievement.

Isn't it strange that it's only now that we hear of her after she along with Rahi Sarnobat won the gold. There is no dearth of talent in the country, however, we remain focused mostly on cricket and sports that have glamour attached to them like tennis at the cost of other sports.

Congratulations to the Maharashtra girls, Anisa and Rahi, for their performance that took Indian medal tally up. Such success stories will certainly inspire more and more girls to take up sports and bring laurels to the country.

Adnan Alavi blogs at






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