Jammu and Kashmir fencer Shreya Gupta is all set to make her mark at the Khelo India Youth Games in Madhya Pradesh by settling for nothing but a gold medal. In her upcoming maiden appearance at the Khelo India games, the Target Olympic Podium Scheme Development athlete is all set to perform at her best and put all efforts into achieving that goal.
"I just came back from a 3-month exposure trip of Hungary where 5 fencers from India were sent. In my upcoming debut appearance in the Khelo India Youth Games, I want to use all the skills I have learnt to win a gold medal for my Union Territory," said Shreya, who will compete in the Individual Sabre event.
The three-month exposure trip, sponsored by the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, saw Shreya put some impressive displays across four World Cups held in Kazakhstan, Germany, Budapest and Poland. She marked a fine 2022 for herself winning bronze medals each at the Asian Championship in Uzbekistan and the Commonwealth Championship in London.
At the age of 8, she embarked on this journey to be a fencer because all she wanted to do was look, act and feel like a 'warrior'. "I used to play taekwondo before and my brother used to do fencing. One day, I visited with my brother to see how it is played and instantly, got hooked to fencing. I personally liked how they were doing warrior-like training in special uniforms, masks and of course, the sword. It was then in 2013 I took the decision of joining the MA Stadium in Jammu to pursue my fencing training.
"I was never into Barbie cartoons and girly stuff as a kid. I liked watching Star Wars, the cartoon series Beyblade and other action stuff. I was therefore always made for Fencing," Shreya, who currently trains at the Sanskardham Academy, added.
Bhavani Devi beat Shreya in the medal bout of the Senior Fencing Nationals in Amritsar in February 2022 and that match provided Shreya with a lot of learning lessons. "Bhavani didi inspires me. When we were in Hungary, she told us how she faced so much struggles in her initial years and the way she overcame them. I am always inspired by her talks. I thank SAI and TOPS too who provides us with so many international exposures and financial help that we don't face what she had to go through back then, " said Shreya.
With a long road to go in her career, Shreya has her priorities set already. "My long-term goal is to win a medal for India in the 2028 Olympics while in the short term, I want to play in the Asian Games this year and win a medal. Also, in the Khelo India Youth Games, I want to make my UT of J&K as well as the nation proud by winning the gold medal," added Shreya.
Fencing events start at the Khelo India Youth Games in Madhya Pradesh from 6th February onwards in Jabalpur. (ANI)