|File photo: Sania Mirza plays chess with her younger sister Anam in their home.|
Indiaâ€™s Sania Mirza remains a world class womenâ€™s tennis player. But there just may be another world class athlete in the family: Saniaâ€™s younger sister Anam. But weâ€™re not talking about another Mirza on the tennis courts. This Mirza is packing heat! Anam is quickly becoming an accomplished competitive shooter, and at the young age of sixteen.
Anam was a surprise wild card entry into the upcoming Delhi National Championships in the womenâ€™s 10 m air pistol event with her impressive score of 337 in the recent State Championships. â€œI am really enjoying the sport. I am determined to make a mark,â€ she told The Hindu.
One inspiration for Anamâ€™s dreams was the silver medal won by fellow Indian Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the menâ€™s double trap event. And just four years later another Indian shooter, Abhinav Bindra, won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the menâ€™s 10m air rifle event. Events in Anamâ€™s everyday life have also pointed her in this direction, as she recounts stories of her shooting prowess even in carnival games.
It is quite often difficult walking in the shadow of a successful, and downright famous, older sibling. But their parents, to their credit, are keeping an even keel. â€œPerformance is the key for anyone to be successful in sport. If Anam keeps improving, we are definitely going to support her in a big way,â€ father Imran Mirza told The Hindu. And one doesnâ€™t sense any jealousy or resentment on the part of the younger sister. â€œI take immense pride in the achievements of my sister. She is a great source of inspiration and ultimately a lot depends on how consistent I am in my sport and I want to be recognized for what I achieve in the world of sport,â€ says Anam. One of her prized possessions remains a rifle given to her as a gift by Sania. â€œI cherish that for a long, long time to comeâ€.
But Anam knows that high-level athletics is a performance-based endeavor, a pure meritocracy.â€œWell my first National should give a fair hint of things to comeâ€.