India’s week in sports: Welcome gunmaster MS Dhoni and cartoon lover Gurpreet Sandhu

A different sporting range may beckon MS Dhoni while goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu finds his love for art again. A quick recap of the top stories from the week gone by.

By Rahul Venkat ·

Indian football team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu may be famous for making acrobatic saves, but who knew that he was equally adept with the paintbrush?

Sandhu has had a passion for sketching cartoons since childhood and he rekindled that during the break from football.

“When I was a kid, my mom used to buy me different pencil boxes with different cartoon characters on them. I was never really much into studies, so I just used to sketch those cartoons,” Gurpreet chuckled in a chat with the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

Gurpreet Singh is a big cartoon fan as can be seen in his sketch of Popeye. Image: AIFF

Sandhu now plans to raise money for charity by selling some of his artwork.

“I plan to hold an exhibition of sorts where people can buy my sketches with whatever amount they can pay. The money will all go to charity. Let's try to help other people who are in need of it,” he said.

MS Dhoni to take a shot?

MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket last week but his desire to try something more adventurous may just be around the corner, if former Indian shooter Shimon Sharif is to be believed.

In 2010, Sharif helped Dhoni buy a Walther LG300XT Carbontec, the sport-shooting rifle that Abhinav Bindra shot his way to Olympic gold with. And Sharif thinks Dhoni could have a go at it himself. MS Dhoni surely knows a thing or two about chasing targets, after all.

“There is no age limit set for shooting. I won't be surprised and literally hope he takes up the sport professionally soon," Sharif told Sportstar.

Dhoni has long held a fascination for guns and his life-long membership of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) makes him eligible to own and use them.

Long-time teammate Suresh Raina, who has also announced his international retirement, says Dhoni is an accurate gunner and therefore don’t be surprised to find him at a shooting range someday.

Pooja Dhanda wants personal coach

Indian wrestler Pooja Dhanda, who will resume training at the national camp next month, has asked for her personal coach to be allowed in the camp.

“His presence will help me prepare better as he can make specific plans as opposed to a team coach, who has to mentor other wrestlers as well,” Dhanda told the Hindustan Times.

The 2018 World Championship bronze-medallist, who competes in the 57kg category, is eyeing an Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.

Olympics Social Watch from India

Rohan Bopanna in action again

Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna will be back in action for the first time since the Davis Cup in March, when he plays the Cincinnati Masters in New York this weekend.

The two-time Olympian will team up with Canadian youngster Denis Shapovalov, and he was visibly thrilled to hit the courts.

Mary Kom’s life mantra

When the going gets tough, London 2012 bronze-medallist MC Mary Kom likes some boxing aggression and her power game seems to be on target.

Best of the week from the Olympic Channel

It was another week of celebrations, when India looked back at some of the greatest moments in Olympic history.

Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik relived her Olympic medal moment from Rio 2016 with the Olympic Channel and narrated her memories of the day.

Sakshi Malik: Reliving Olympic Glory

Sakshi Malik guides us through her incredible comeback performance at Rio 2...

Hockey wizard Dhyan Chand won the final of his three Olympic golds at Berlin 1936, this time as captain, and did so despite some doubts about the Indian hockey team’s capabilities. Read about it here.

The week gone by also marked two game-changing Olympic silver medals as Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore brought Indian shooting to the fore at Athens 2004 while PV Sindhu broke new barriers at Rio 2016.