Former Indian Olympic shooter Anjali Bhagwat talks about the difference between the preparations for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, the Indian youth contingent and more.
File image of Indian shooters. Photo credit: Twitter / @ OfficialNRAI
The Rio 2016 Olympics were an overall disappointment for the countless Indians who tuned in, but perhaps no sport has lived up to its promises as much as shooting. Indian shooters had won a medal in two previous Olympic Games, and Abhinav Bindra’s 10-meter air rifle gold in Beijing in 2008 is considered a milestone for the country. In 2016, however, no Indian shooter was able to continue the series and further expand the country’s success in this sport.
This time the Indian shooting team is once again traveling to the Olympic Games as one of the most promising teams in the Indian line-up, and according to the former Indian Despite previous disappointments, shooter Anjali Bhagwat has more than enough reason to be optimistic.
« It wasn’t last minute planning this time. We worked on these shooters for four years. They are the future. They were under former shooters who are now coaches such as Suma Shirur, Deepali Deshpande, Jaspal Rana and Samaresh Jung. The main difference between these Olympics and Rio is that over the past four years the junior and senior shooters have been split and a lot in development young talent has been invested, « said Bhagwat in an interaction with journalists.
When asked why shooters in Rio are not impressed Bhagwat points to a lack of coherent planning on the part of everyone involved: “In 2016 everyone did their own thing and trained alone. Many shooters went abroad to train for no real reason. It was disorganized and didn’t help the team. «
» This time everything has been meticulously planned and the implementation has also been extremely successful. The result can be seen in the performance at major tournaments. The sport is also very well supported financially Mindset is completely different. When we started our shooting career we didn’t have high-level shooters to look up to. When we competed overseas we had a little inferiority complex. But now that India has won medals, the mindset has changed from Younger shooters. They know we won medals, which leads them to believe they can win medals too. «
Thanks to the focus on developing new shooting talents over the past Olympic cycle, a large part of the Indian contingent is extremely young. Manu Bhaker (19), Divyansh Singh Panwar (18), Saurabh Chaudhary (19) and Aishwary Pratap Singh (20) are at the far end of the spectrum, but shooters like Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Elavenil Valarivan are also considered to be comparatively experienced shooters only in their early twenties
With so many young faces on the roster, a common concern leading up to the Olympics was a lack of experience, but Bhagwat insisted that this was far from the truth and said: « We can talk to the younger ones Protect expect good performance « . For many of them this is the first Olympics, but almost all athletes have done well in so many tournaments and therefore have a lot of experience that will come in handy as they qualify for the finals as well as many world championships. They are talented and confident shooters. I’ve seen their hard work and dedication. They have older shooters as well as the Indian coaches with them and are well managed. «
» The pressure is always there, whether it is a regular national game or the Olympic Games. However, shooting at the Olympics is completely different because you know in the back of your mind that you are being watched by a nation and what their expectations are. When you get to that stage, you are ready for it, you are prepared for it: on the way to the games you go through things like world championships and Asian games and Commonwealth games and so on you prepare, « she added.
Bhagwat also mentioned that the younger shooters had the privilege of growing up in a highly competitive home environment and said, « These athletes all had a transparent selection process in which they competed against thousands of other shooters and prevailed. This home field has Made them tougher, they’ve now proven themselves. They’re also a bit arrogant, in a good sense. They fully believe in themselves. «
COVID-19 has a key role in the preparation of athletes around the world played, and Bhagwat suggested that the timing of the pandemic for Indian shooting couldn’t have been worse given the dynamics of an extremely promising campaign ne 2019 was ultimately in vain.
“In 2019 we had a squad that was perfectly prepared for the Olympics. The shooters showed a great performance in the World Cup. It was a high profile squad that appeared to be in shape pandemic hit and everything just stopped giving other countries a chance to catch up with us. Had COVID-19 not happened, I would have confidently said that we will win 5-6 medals, but now we know that the rest of the world is currently turning more or less at the same level as we are, « said Bhagwat.
Bhagwat also fondly remembered her own memories of the Olympics, especially Syndey 2000, where she became the first Indian female shooter to qualify for a final.
« During the 2000 Olympics, I was very new, i was an amateur. I only found out days before the Olympics that I would be attending, so I didn’t get a chance to prepare well. I shot very well in the qualifying round, « and I was lucky enough to qualify as the first shooter for the final. To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the final at all and I didn’t know how to put myself together. I was able to Finals didn’t shoot well. But the overall experience was great. «
» Once you go to the Olympic villages, you have elite athletes everywhere, you happen to meet some of the biggest names. When I went to the 2004 Olympics, I met Roger Federer on Day 1 and then I met Rafael Nadal and then I met the American basketball team with all the NBA stars. That initial excitement is always there when you go to an event like this, « added Bhagwat. </ The former Olympian also quickly advised younger shooters not to take the opportunity and said: “After a while the thrill wears off and you have to get into your groove quickly and be up Focus on a job what your responsibilities are. You have prepared for this over the course of four or five years. You went through it all, you took part in all the other tournaments to get here. You have to stick to your plan and make sure you don't deviate from it. "
Watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games live on the SONY SIX and SONY TEN 2 channels from July 23rd.
July 23, 2021 5:55:12 PM IS
In terms of form, wins and records, Chaudhary is to the Indian contingent of shooters ahead of the Tokyo Games what Rai was to the group that competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan will represent India in the women’s 10m air rifle competition on Saturday, followed by the men’s 10m air pistol qualification and the final with Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma in action.
In addition to Abhishek Verma, Saurabh Chaudhary will take part in the men’s 10-meter air pistol event on the first day of competition.
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