Positive signs for future Olympics

first_imgIndia won two medals in shooting this time around, and even the number of finals-three-was the best ever for the team. With 11 shooters at the Olympics, we were among the top 10 in the world in terms of participation, and our position in the shooting medals table is also roughly the same.The message is clear- if you prepare shooters early for a competition as big as the Olympics, you will be rewarded. The target for the Rio Olympics has to be 15 shooters, which may not be as many as the Chinese or the Americans, but would be a sign of progress. It is imperative that India wins more medals in shooting.The most promising performance came from Joydeep Karmakar, who withstood the pressure of qualifying for the final through a shoot-off to perform brilliantly in the 50m rifle prone final and finish just outside the medals.He needs more wins at the international level to become a serious contender.We had a few people in with a shot at finals too, like Heena Sidhu and Ronjan Sodhi. I expect them to bounce back well since they would know how to handle the pressure now. And as far as a proven champion like Abhinav Bindra is concerned, expect him to come back with a bang. There are, of course, lessons to be learnt. Our shooters have to be wary of external pressures affecting their performances, since in some cases, the temperament rather than the technique dragged them down.The government and the federation have to work together and make sure that they get a vision plan in place immediately. Now that we have a pool of international-level shooters, the best need to be picked immediately, so that they can start training in right earnest from the beginning of next year itself. Shooting is India’s main sport at the Olympics, and it is also important that a physiotherapist and qualified mental trainers are at hand to help out the team. There should be no compromises on professionalism.advertisementAll this would help the shooters be on track for the next qualification cycle for the Olympics, which begins in 2014, and also the next two big events-the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Incheon Asian Games. This was also the first big test for the National Rifle Association of India’s new transparent, scorebased selection policy, and I don’t think anyone should have a problem with it now.The only amendment I suggest is to let the quota-winning shooter make the Olympic team automatically, since it would help them get down to preparations as soon as they bag the quota. That, as we saw in the case of the early qualifiers like Gagan Narang, is always an advantage.(The writer is a four-time Olympian and Arjuna awardee)last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *