Heena Sidhu is an Indian Shooter who hails from Mumbai. She created history on 7th April 2014, when Sidhu became the first-ever Indian pistol shooter to be ranked No. 1 in the International Shooting Sports Federation world rankings. Sidhu was also the first gold medal winner in an ISSF World Cup finals after winning at the 10-meter air pistol event.
Heena also held the World record in the 10-meter air pistol event as well with a score of 203.8. Sidhu is coached by her husband, Ronak Pandit.
|10m Pistol Air
|World Ranking (Highest)
|29 (29 August 1989)
|5ft 4in (1.63m)
|Master Eye (Dominant)
Gunpowder probably runs through Heena’s bloodstreams, considering Sidhu household’s deep affiliation with guns. While her father was a National Sports Shooter, her uncle was a gunsmith. She grew up in an environment would always have some guns around, especially so since she lived in a joint. Naturally, the rich gun culture rubbed off.
Heena in a similar way as her brother who also went on to be a professional sports shooter. What started off as a casual hobby soon became a blazing passion.
In an interview recently, Sidhu explained how, initially, she just wanted to enjoy the sport rather than compete at the Olympics one day.
Sidhu first started to shoot with a rifle, one of the biggest and most sophisticated guns around. However, considering that the gun needed such complex contraptions such as eyepiece, gas cylinders, heavy jackets, stiff trousers, heavy shoes, stands and many more. As a result, Sidhu chose to go with a simpler and lesser expensive gun, the humble pistol, for a year. She stuck with pistol ever after.
Sidhu started her professional shooting journey in 2006 when she participated in the national junior and senior teams. She would also frequent the Patiala Club for her shooting practices.
While on one hand, Sidhu had started to make her name in the shooting world, she was also studying dentistry at the Gyan Sagar Dental College.
Heena first burst onto the shooting scene when she won a silver at the Beijing ISSF World Cup.
Sidhu then went on to finish at the top of the podium in the women’s 10m air pistol event at the National Championship in Kerala.
Heena started the following year with a bang, scalping a gold at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games’ women’s pairs 10m air pistol with Annu Raj Singh. The duo had 384 points between themselves. In the singles equivalent of the sport, she won a silver.
In November that year, she again proved her mettle with a silver at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian in Women’s 10m air pistol team event with Annu Raj Singh and Sonia Rai.
Sidhu was among the Indian shooting contingent to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In the event, she competed in the women’s 10-meter air pistol event. However, Heena could only manage to finish 12th in the qualification round. Nevertheless, it was a vital learning experience for the 23-year-old shooter.
Bouncing back in style, Heena won the gold medal at the 2013 ISSF World Cup in Munich, Germany. In the finals, She trounced experienced shooters in the form of Serbia’s world champion Zorana Arunovic and the reigning champion, Olena Kostevych of Ukraine by 203.8 points finish. The figure gave her a 5 point lead by the end of the event.
In 2014, she won at the National Shooting trials by a close margin of 0.1 points over Rahi Sarnobat in another women’s air pistol event.
That year, Sidhu was also bestowed with the Arjuna Award by the Indian Government.
In an interview with the Hindustan Times, she expressed her disappointment at being given the award a year late. “I got my Arjuna (award) a year late. I got it in 2014 whereas I should have got it in 2013. Raj Kumari, a veteran shooter, got it in 2013 on the basis of an Asian Championship gold in a non-Olympic sport. I had the CWG and Asian Games medals… I had a World Cup gold and I had competed in the Olympic Games. The system needs to be streamlined,” she Sidhu said.
In 2016, Sidhu again qualified for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in the women’s 10m air pistol and the women’s 25m pistol events respectively.
However, she finished 14th and 20th in the respective events to bow out of the games.
Later, she expressed her disappointment over her performances also said that “Apart from preparations, a lot of luck is also required.”
Sidhu also withdrew from the Asian Air Gun Championships in Tehran after the hosting nation, Iran made it mandatory for the female participants to wear a hijab.
In 2017, Sidhu claimed the gold medal in women’s 10-meter air pistol event at the 2017 Brisbane Commonwealth Shooting Championships.
In the following year, at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Sidhu, gold medal in the women’s 25-meter air pistol event.
She also won a silver medal in the women’s 10-meter air pistol event.
Heena rounded up the year with a bronze at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
Heena Sidhu was born in Ludhiana, Haryana on 29 August 1989. Her family has an old connection to guns and sports shooting as her father is a former National Games Shooter. In fact, her brother also plies his trade in the same sports as well. Heena is married to fellow sports shooter, Ronak Pandit who also happens to be her coach.
|2015 ASC NEW DELHI
|2014 ASC KUWAIT CITY
|2017 ASC WAKO CITY
|2018 Asian Games Jakarta
|2014 WC Forte Benning
|2009 WC BEIJING
|2013 WC Munich
- Arjuna Award