On this Day in 2012: Shooter Vijay Kumar made India proud at London Olympics


There are times when unknown names surprise many by their performances. One such instance happened on 03 Aug 2012 during the London Olympics. A sharpshooter from the Indian Army Vijay Kumar surprised one and all to grab a second-place podium finish in 25-meter rapid fire pistol event. It was the second Indian medal of Olympics after bronze from Gagan Narang a few days back.

Vijay Kumar Sharma was born on 19 Aug 1985 in Barsar village of Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh. His father had served in the Army and retired as subedar. According to his father, Vijay was always intrigued by his father’s gun but his interest in shooting began only when he joined the Indian Army. Kumar joined the Indian Army in 2001 as a sepoy and was inducted into the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) at Mhow in 2003. His shooting prowess ensured promotion to Havildar by 2006.

He was promoted to Naib Subehdar on 20 April 2006. He continued his hard work towards the sport and soon started winning medals on the International stage. He won medals in all colours at Commonwealth Games, Asian games and also at ISSF world championships. The last thing that could have probably ticked all boxes in his career was that of an Olympic medal which he did win in the London Olympics in 2012.

Vijay Kumar was not a famous name like we had Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Ronjon Singh Sodhi, etc in the shooting. There was some rain at night just before his qualification round was going to start. He was a surprise package for many after news broke out about his silver medal. Vijay Kumar, fought a nerve-wracking battle with five other top marksmen, including a world champion,  to clinch the silver medal.

He found the target 30 times out of 40 attempts in the series comprising eight rounds of five shots each. By end of 7th round, Vijay was assured of silver and one felt he relaxed a bit as in the final round he missed three shots. But with such close competition in the category it required immense level of concentration & focus to be in contention for a long time, needless to say, he did it for the most part of the battle and deservingly got the podium finish.