Alumnus shoots his way to two gold medals

Pradipta Biswas wins two gold medals for his shooting skills.

A Gates alumnus will be picking up two gold medals this weekend after taking part in a major National Rifle Association competition.

Pradipta Biswas [2006] took part in the recent 142nd Imperial Shooting Meeting in Besley, one of the biggest on the shooting calendar. One of his scores (148/150) ranks within the top 10 scores in the country. His success is all the more remarkable as he suffers from acute myopia.

Pradipta, who completed his PhD in Computer Science in 2010, is a member of the Cambridge University Revolver and Pistol Club which includes members who have shot for their countries. He only took up the sport two years ago and last year was part of a team which beat Oxford University.

He won a gold medal for rapid firing in the Silhouette medal category after firing five shots in 10 second, five shots in eight seconds and five shots in six seconds. For the Scott medal, in which he won a gold medal for precision firing, he fired 20 shots in 20 minutes at a smaller target. All the shots were fired using a 0.22 Ruger 10/22 Carbine at a standing position of 25 metres away from the target.

Pradipta puts his success down to practice and a good coach, Herb Teachy. He says: "I find shooting is very useful for focusing my attention, which is mandatory for any good researcher, and personally for me it has helped me to overcome a disability which I have had since childhood. I have proved that you can overcome an impairment even in a sport which demands the highest degree of visual acuity."

He is now a research associate in the Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge where he is researching ways of making modern digital devices, particularly interactive systems, accessible to elderly users and people with different ranges of abilities. He has recently been appointed coordinator of the working group of a UN agency which aims to make audiovisual media accessible to people with disabilities.