I almost forgot how to shoot during lockdown: Divyansh

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New Delhi, Mar 20 (PTI) Divyansh Singh Panwar was fighting his own battle as the world grappled with the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

The Indian shooter 'almost forgot' how to shoot, something that had earned him laurels, including an Olympic quota and medals of all colours across the world.

On Saturday however, the 18-year-old 10m air rifle specialist showed that he is getting back to his old self, with a bronze medal in the ISSF World Cup here.

The world number one had no qualms in admitting that the shutdown had affected him gravely.

'During lockdown my confidence, motivation took a hit, it seemed there was nothing left, no plans for future and we didn't know what's in store ahead, in a way everything became blank,' Divyansh told reporters after his medal-winning effort.

'As we started practising, we felt good but before that, there was no competition for such a long time that I almost forgot shooting... It happens mentally, we were not doing it daily so we forgot, then we worked hard and slowly came back,' he added.

Divyansh opened India's medals tally with a bronze in the men's 10m air rifle on the second competition day of the combined world cup at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.

The 2019 World Cup Finals gold medallist shot 228.1 to finish third on the podium here.

He secured the Tokyo Olympics quota when he bagged silver in the 10m air rifle event at the Beijing World Cup in April 2019.

The promising rifleman said this bronze medal will do his confidence a world of good heading into the Olympics.

'This medal is a great thing for my confidence, gives me the belief that I can do better than this and I will definitely give my best,' the Jaipur-born marksman said.

Speaking about pressure, he said, 'I was not able to understand how to handle the situation, in World Cups earlier you must have noticed that I was pretty nervous... it happens gradually, with small steps.

'The mind status is different in World Cup from trials and training though we have some great shooters in our country. One shot can really affect my rhythm.' Though he has won a medal after being deprived of competition for more than a year, Divyansh said he is yet to go back to the place he was before the pandemic struck, when Indian shooters dominated the sport globally, topping all the four World Cup stages and also the prestigious season-ending World Cup Finals in Putian, China.

Divyansh shot 10.6 before bowing out of Saturday's final with the bronze. He was placed sixth in the 60-shot qualification with a total of 629.1. PTI AH AT AT