For the Olympic Games, I need to be mentally better prepared: Manu Bhaker

NEW DELHI: the 2019 international Shooting The season has come to an end. But at home, the next national championships have lengthened the row of shooters in the shooting range of Dr. Karni Singh. On one of those mornings last week, while the shooters lined up at the edge of the registration desk, Manu Bhaker He made his entrance. Wearing his Indian sweater, while Manu signed down his reserved lane, the astonishment on the faces around him was noticeable.

All 17, Manu's rapid advances have also made her a force in the senior circuit, as she became the youngest Indian to win a ISSF World Cup Gold in March 2018 in Guadalajara.

From there to win a Tokyo Olympic Games Quota in a 10m air gun and securing the gold of the mixed team in the same event in the four World Cups this year, the No. 4 in the 17-year-old world is one of India's main hopes.

Manu's efforts are now directed towards emulating the performance that helped her win the Youth Olympic Games gold at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games , and her maiden World Cup Final gold (10m air pistol) last month has positioned her nicely at the edge of the final stretch to Tokyo.

However, Manu needs to focus on improving the mental aspect of his game to fulfill his Olympic ambitions, possibly because he could not break any individual gold in the four World Cups this year.

In an interview with before acquiring his shooting lane within the range, Manu, who also shoots in a 25 m pistol, shared his thoughts on his performance throughout the year in 2019, while crossing his fingers until he He asks you to board the flight. to Japan.

It has been a busy year, four World Cups. You played them all, you couldn't win a (individual) medal but you got a 10m air pistol quota. Then, at the end of the World Cup at the end of the year, you finished that sterile race with an individual gold. Take us through all that.

I think the World Cup final was the toughest competition I've ever participated in. It was excellent. I did not expect a gold medal. So it was my happiest moment to date.

At the World Cup in Delhi (in February), I shot very well with a 25 m pistol. I was also in the final but I could not reach the podium or get an Olympic quota. Then, at the Beijing World Cup, things were not under control either. He was dropping only one or two points behind in the qualification rounds. It was at the Munich World Cup, where I packed the quota (10m AP), of course. Things were fine, under control, they calmed down. We had a good camp there (in Munich) and had confidence. But at the end of the 25-meter gun, my gun broke and I was a bit annoyed.

So the year was like this. I am looking forward to the Olympic Games now, fingers crossed. I have nothing to say about it, but yes, I'll try my best.

The malfunction of the gun in Munich broke your heart. It was also visible on the screen.

It was the first time he was in the first position in a 25 m pistol final. It was as if (definitely) I was going to win a medal and suddenly my gun broke. I do not know what happened. I wasn't even firing the shot. That was daunting, of course.

Nationals are emerging, which is equally important, and you have your university exams in progress. But how do you manage your international breaks?

For exams, I'm still trying my best, but I don't think I'll be doing very good (smiles). In Shooting , I keep my mind focused and I don't talk too much about Shooting with my friends or anyone. So it's like I'm Shooting , but I'm not keeping it (thinking about it all the time) in my mind. It's not inside my brain. I'm not very conscious about it. I just practice normally, naturally.

We have 15 Olympic quotas; and you are in the running for a place in both 10m air pistol and 25m pistol squads. You have played the Youth Olympic Games as well and won gld there. Do you think that experience will help you?

Every experience will help. Before the Olympic Games , we still have 6-7 months. It's a long time and I need to prepare mentally. I don't know if I'll make it to the team or not, but I'm trying my best, everyone is trying.

In the mixed team, it was a totally different year for you. You won the 10m AP gold in the four World Cups with Saurabh Chaudhary and then in the World Cup finals you also won the gold with your Russian partner, Artem Chernousov. How different is it compared to an individual event?

Things are totally different. But I think about my individual performance instead of thinking about what my partner is doing. Recently I realized that the four gold medals of the World Cup (mixed team of 10 million) we all won (Manu and Saurabh). And the Asian Championship also with Abhishek Verma and then the final Gold World Cup. It was an epic year, of course. In an air gun it was amazing. By the grace of God, things were put in place and my partner and I shot well.

Do you (mixed team partners) discuss strategies before the final?

No, we do not talk. It is a kind of individual sport. Whenever we go for the qualification or the final, we don't talk. Our partner could be anyone, we don't talk. We simply stay in our mental (individual) space.

Imagine you are in the squad for the Tokyo Olympic Games , what will be your preparation like?

I hope everything you just said comes true. I don't think I make any changes to my practice or anything, but mentally, yes, I will have to prepare myself better.

Speaking about the mental aspect, some shooters are very particular about meditation.

It depends on your mental strength. I think I am focused enough (mentally). I meditate only when I feel my mind is going somewhere else. Otherwise, I have my Shooting strategy in place to practice. Music is how I keep myself away from distractions.