[Video Courtesy: Indian Railways]
Indian Railways creates history by becoming the world’s first railways organisation to convert a diesel locomotive into an electric one using indigenous technology under ‘Make In India’ initiative. This development will give impetus to Govt’s move of switching to electric locomotives in the country.
SENSATIONAL: India’s 16-Year-Old Manu Bhaker Wins Another Gold at Shooting World Cup
The sensational Manu Bhaker shot her way to a second successive gold medal in a mixed team event in the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The sensational Manu Bhaker, all of 16, shot her way to a second successive gold medal in a mixed team event as India consolidated their position at the top in the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Partnering Om Prakash Mitharval, the Indian teenager clinched the 10m air pistol mixed team title, a day after she won the women’s 10m air pistol individual gold on what is turning out to be a memorable senior World Cup debut.
The 11th standard student could be the youngest ever to win senior World Cup gold medals for India, though the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) could not confirm.
Also, the duo of Deepak Kumar and Mehuli Ghosh won the country its sixth medal of the competition – a bronze in the 10m air rifle mixed team event.
Deepak and Mehuli, competing as India 2, shot 435.1 in the five-team final, finishing behind the Romanian pair of Alin Moldoveanu and Laura-Georgeta Coman who shot 498.4 for silver. China’s Xu Hong and Chen Keduo won Gold with a world record score of 502.0.
But it was Bhaker, the girl from Jhajjar, Haryana, who stunned the shooting world with a second successive gold in as many days.
For someone who took to shooting just a little over two years ago, winning two gold medals in a global event of this magnitude would easily qualify as some achievement.
Shooting happened to her by chance after a brush with contact sports (boxing, martial arts) and Bhaker has already stamped her class in the tournaments she competed in.
Asked about her penchant for winning medals with record-breaking feats, the unassuming pistol shooter said, “It just happens. I don’t think about them. At times I don’t even know what the records are.” “I am grateful to all my coaches for their advice and the hours they have put in to hone my technique,” Manu added.
Last December, she won the 10m air pistol event, outclassing the highly-experienced Heena Sidhu at the 61st National Shooting Championship in Thiruvananthapuram where she broke Heena’s long-standing national record. She won a staggering 15 medals, including nine gold, during the tournament.
Bhaker’s tryst with shooting began when her father took her to the range and asked her to try her hand at the sport. She fired a few shots that found the centre of the target and the rest is history.
On the third day of competitions in the Mexican city, once again both Indian entries in the 10m air pistol mixed team event made it through to the medal rounds. Bhaker and Om Prakash, representing India 1, shot 770 in qualification to be placed second behind the German husband and wife pair of Christian and Sandra Reitz who shot 777 for a qualifications world record score.
Mahima Agrawal and Shahzar Rizvi, representing India 2, shot 763 to be positioned fourth and made it to the five-team final round from among the 16 competing teams. In the final, there were three pairs in contention from the very beginning – India 1 represented by Bhaker and Om Prakash, team Reitz of Germany and the French pair of Celine Goberville and Florian Fouquet.
After a see-saw battle between the three, the Indian and the German pair pulled ahead of the French duo decisively after 38 shots, with the Germans ahead of the Indians. With the final six shots remaining the Germans were ahead of the Indians by 0.1, but Bhaker and Om Prakash finished strong to clinch the battle after 48 shots, almost a point ahead of the Germans.
The final scores in favour of the Indians read 476.1 to 475.2. Mahima Agrawal and Shahzar Rizvi finished fourth with a score of 372.4 in the finals. In the women’s trap, India’s Seema Tomar was the best finisher, shooting 111 in qualifying to end in 15th spot.
Shreyasi Singh shot 106 to finish 22nd while Shagun Chowdhary shot 101 to be placed 26th. Also at the end of the first day of the qualification round in men’s trap, India’s Kynan Chenai shot 49 out of 50 to lie in sixth place. Zoravar Singh Sandhu shot 46 to lie 28th while Manavjit Singh Sandhu shot 42 to be in 47th place.
India’s medal count stood at three gold and four bronze medals for a total of seven podium finishes.
Avani Chaturvedi Creates History for the Indian Air Force
Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes the first Indian woman to fly fighter aircraft MiG-21 Bison solo.
Chaturvedi flew a MiG-21 bison in her first training solo sortie, in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
She completed the half-an-hour long solo flight in the Russian-origin jet in the skies over Jamnagar Air Base. “This is a major milestone in training of a fighter pilot and first time an Indian woman has flown a fighter aircraft solo. It demonstrates IAF’s enduring commitment to ‘Nari Shakti’,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee said.
It is pertinent to mention here that MiG-21 Bison has the highest landing and take-off speed in the world – 340 kmph.
She is one of the three in the first batch of female pilots, besides Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh, who were inducted in Indian Air Force fighter squadron on June 18, 2016.
Speaking to news agencies, Air Commodore Prashant Dixit said, “It is a unique achievement for Indian Air Force and the country.”
She is from Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh. She completed her training at Hyderabad Air Force Academy. She did her schooling from Deoland, a small town in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh. Completing her Bachelors in Technology from Banasthali University, Rajasthan in 2014, she passed the Indian Air Force exam.
Chaturvedi is inspired by her brother who is in the Army.
She was declared as the first combat pilot along with two of her cohort, Mohana Singh, and Bhawana Kanth.
Mohana Singh and Bhawana have also completed training to fly a fighter plane and will soon fly fighter planes. All three were given training in January.s inducted into the Indian Air Force fighter squadron on June 18, 2016. They were formally commissioned by then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Chaturvedi, who is posted to No. 23 Squadron (Panthers), is from the first batch of three women officers who were commissioned as fighter pilots in the IAF in June 2016. Till last week, she had undertaken flights in twin-seater training jets, accompanied by Qualified Flying Instructors of the IAF. After completing her basic flying training on a Pilatus aircraft at the Air Force Academy, Chaturvedi underwent six months of training on Kiran trainer jets at Hakimpet, which was followed by a year-long training stint on Hawk advanced trainer jets at Bidar Air Base.
Only selected countries, such as Britain, the United States, Israel, and Pakistan, have allowed women in the role of fighter pilots.
It was in October 2015 that the Government took the decision to open the fighter stream for women. Meanwhile, combat roles in the Army and the Navy are still off-limits for women, due to a combination of operational concerns and logistical constraints.
On December 16, 2017, two women from the second batch to enter the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force were commissioned after graduating from the Air Force Academy, Dundigul.
It was only in 1992 that the armed forces began recruiting women to streams, other than the Medical stream. Since 1993, women officers have been inducted into all branches and stream as Short Service Commissioned Officers except in the fighter stream. However, IAF has revised Short Service Commission scheme to induct women into the fighter stream on experimental basis for five years.
The IAF has already selected the next batch of three women trainee pilots for the fighter stream.
Kindergarten Girl Vows to Clean Dal Lake
A five-year-old girl from northern Jammu and Kashmir has taken upon herself to clean up the state’s picturesque and iconic Dal Lake.
Raw sewage, land encroachment and years of neglect have been threatening the survival of a lake where visitors from Mughal emperors to George Harrison once enjoyed the idyllic stillness of its waters surrounded by Himalayan mountains.
Thousands of tonnes of sewage spew into the lake, feeding weeds and choking the lake and its aquatic life of oxygen. Moreover, lily pads, that cover vast swathes of the lake, hamper the movement of ‘shikaras’ or houseboats.
However, Jannat, a kindergarten student, heads out, armed with a net basket in her hand, with an aim to restore Dal’s aesthetic beauty.
“My daughter used to see me cleaning and this is how she picked up the habit of cleanliness. Dal is the essence of Kashmir and now she has taken the entire responsibility on her shoulders”, said a proud father Tariq Ahmed.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also moved by the “passion” of the five-year-old towards cleanliness.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Once dubbed the Switzerland of the east, Kashmir was heaven for skiers, honeymooners and film-makers, who were drawn to its soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats on the Dal lake in Srinagar.
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