Updated January 26th, 2024 at 19:04 IST
KIYG 2023: Joydeep Karmakar’s son Adriyan handles expectations, defends title
KIYG 2023: At 18, he has already been shooting targets for two-thirds of his life. Adriyan has already had a phase where shooting became more of a chore.
Adriyan Karmakar not only loves shooting but also talking about shooting. “I can go on and on about it,” he says. At the 6th Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai, Adriyan, representing West Bengal, successfully defended his gold medal in the 50m 3 positions event.
At 18, he has already been shooting targets for two-thirds of his life. He has already had a phase where shooting became more of a chore that he felt he had to do because of who he was: the son of 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, 2010 World Cup silver medallist and 2012 Olympics 4th-placed rifle shooter Joydeep Karmakar.
He then had a frank conversation with his father, gradually rediscovered his passion for the sport, switched to 50m from 10m, and there’s been no looking back since.
“A few years back, I kind of strayed away from the sport. I was not focused because I had been shooting from a very young age. So I had a phase where it was just, ‘okay, my dad is telling me to go to the range. Okay, I'll just go to the range. I'll just stand there for 1 hour. I don't want to do that. I just want to watch YouTube or just play around,” Adriyan says.
“But my dad was like, ‘do you want to shoot? If you don't want to shoot, it's fine. You can study.’ He has never forced me to shoot. He has always told me, ‘you do whatever you want.’ I never got the pressure from him. And he was very open with it. I was into arts and crafts a few years back. So then he got me marker pens and stuff, but they were hobbies, right? My shooting was my main thing. After that, again, I got my focus back into shooting. Now I am very focused, and this is all I want.”
Recalling Adriyan’s tryst with shooting, Joydeep said, “He started pretty early at the age of 8. Infact he was the youngest ever shooter at the age of 10 then to qualify for Senior Nationals. However he was not too serious about it.
“Lately, in 2021 when he took up 50metre events, his attitude towards shooting was visibly changing. Though not having a 50m range in his hometown was the biggest challenge, he had patience to only dry fire and never shot a single bullet. He won his first state level competition without shooting a single shot in the 50m range before that! Now he looks stable and more focussed than ever.”
Over time, Adriyan has realised there are “pros and cons” to being a famous father’s son in the same field, and has learnt to handle the expectations. “I get immense knowledge from him. I got a strong foundation and a mindset of a true shooter from him. But, of course, there are expectations from crowds. And when I shoot bad, they are like, ‘how could you do it?’ And if I should win, they’re like, ‘of course, he would do it.’ So there are perceptions and prejudices.
“But my dad has also taught me how to deal with those. So I don't think it has affected me in a bad way. If not, it has made me improve because it grew my hunger for success and excellence.”
Joydeep, on his part, heaps praise on his son’s prowess and mentions he has a long road ahead. “Adriyan knows the sport very well. Technically, perhaps he’s one of the strongest shooters I’ve ever experienced as a Coach. Now experience and mental setup will take him higher if he wants it seriously!
“He has a very high knowledge on the technical process of shooting. His strong mental grit is another good point. Though he is young, he has his mind clear about the future, and knows the ups & downs of the game. Comparison to an Olympian father is a challenge, but we have spoken & planned to handle this very openly and practically. His mindset is very open even to prepare to fail, but learning how to rise again.
“I’m absolutely not being biased as a father, but I see him reach very high standard in a couple of years,” added Joydeep.
Published January 26th, 2024 at 19:04 IST