Melbourne 1956 OG, Shooting, 25m rapid fire pistol (60 shots) Men - Karoly TAKACS (HUN).

Stage yourself on the Olympic ground competing against the world’s best pistol shooters. But let’s twist it a bit, you have to compete with your non-dominant hand. Yes, this sounds crazy but it’s true.

Back in the 1930s a national Pistol shooter champion Karoly Takacs had to go through something similar. Takacs was born in Budapest, Hungary. Due to the prevalent war situation, he had to join the army early in his life.  A few years into the army his shooting skills were recognised and he was sent to represent the army in national competitions. Soon he became a national champion, but his rank as a sergeant meant that he could not participate in the Olympics. Only commissioned officers could compete in Olympics. This left him dejected and heartbroken. But he didn’t lose hope and continued his practice. After the 1936 Olympics, this ban was lifted and all ranks were allowed to compete in the 1940 Tokyo Olympics.

Fortune was not in the favour of Karoly. One day during his army training in 1938 a faulty grenade exploded in his right hand. This rendered his shooting arm useless.

“Of all the people in the world, why me?” Like most of us, Karoly could have asked the same question “why me” but he didn’t. After spending a month in the hospital, he decided not to feel pity for himself. He held on to his dream of becoming an Olympic champion and started training with his left hand.

After a year he resurfaced at the national championship. All his colleagues were happy to see him at the competition. They invited him to watch the competition with the other audience. But to everyone’s surprise, he said he was here to compete not to spectate. He performed with his left hand and he performed well. He won the national championship.

His dream of competing at the Olympics was delayed as the Olympic games of 1940, 1944 were cancelled due to war. In the London summer Olympics of 1948, he beat the all-time favourite Argentine Carlos Enrique Díaz Sáenz Valiente, who was the reigning world champion and set a new world record. Later he won gold in the same event at the Olympics games of 1952. His story has given him a place among the “Olympic heroes” of the Committee. This is the stuff champions are made of. We all have faced failure but it is the power to persevere that distinguishes a winner.

Don’t lose yourself to self-pity. Don’t let self-pity take control. Rise every time you fall. As a wise man said

“winning is less about skills, more about attitude”.