Shooters have made remarkable progress
By N Jagannath Das | Express News Service - HYDERABAD
22nd July 2012 10:32 AM
Shooting was India’s pride at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore shot the first individual silver medal in India’s Olympic history in the men’s double trap event.
Abhinav Bindra brought smiles to millions of Indians by shooting the first-ever individual gold in the men’s 10 metres air-rifle event. That apart, shooting has brought laurels to the country in Asian, Commonwealth and World meets. As the London Olympics is 10 days away, the expectations are high. As many as 11 shooters, including Bindra, Gagan Narang, Ronjon Sodhi, Manavjit Sandhu, will be gunning for Olympic glory. They will participate in nine events of Rifle/Pistol and Shotgun. Chief coach Sunny Thomas (in photo) is keeping his fingers crossed. “There will be lot of expectations. We have some world-class shooters who can win medals for the country. They have worked hard and, with a bit of luck, we can hopefully win medals,’’ he says. Excerpts from an interview...
On the state of Indian shooting
Indian shooters have made remarkable progress in the last few years. We have won gold and silver medals in international meets. In the last Olympics, we had nine shooters and this time we have 11. That itself is good progress.
On prospects of Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang
They are well set for the Olympics and should peak in London. Their performances will be keenly watched. Abhinav is there to defend his gold while Gagan will be hoping to clinch a medal in his third Olympics.
On mental pressure
We are conscious of the fact that the shooters are not put under any pressure. We want them to focus for the Olympics. We have the mental trainers, which is essential in this sport. Abhinav has his personal mental trainer.
On Gagan Narang’s recent performances
Gagan narrowly missed the medal at Beijing Games. It was unfortunate. But after that, he has been performing exceedingly well in all big meets like the Worlds, Asian Games or Commonwealth Games. He has twice scored 600/600 in international meets and has been consistently shooting 595 in the 10 metres air-rifle event. He is shaping well and looks good for Olympics. He is also taking part in the 50m rifle and and 3 position men.
On other rifle shooters
Shooters like Sanjeev Rajput (50m rifle 3 position), Joydeep Karmakar (50m rifle prone) have won the quota places with some good performances.
On India’s pistol shooters
With Vijay Kumar (25m rapid fire pistol) being on target, he won the place on merit. He beat the best of the shooters in the world. Heena Sidhu, too, has shot quite well in trials to be selected in the 10m air pistol. We have two more women pistol shooters in Annuraj Singh (10m) and Rahi Sarnobat (25m). We are confident of a good show.
On the pistol coaches
The arrival of pistol coaches Anatoly Piddubnyl and Smirnov Payel has been useful to the shooters. These shooters should have self-belief to perform. They have done the hard work for the all important show.
On Ronjan Sodhi’s chances
He is world champion and world record holder. Even if this is only his first Olympics, Ronjan is an experienced shooter. He is a big medal hope for India.
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