Manu Bhaker working on her technique, improving mental strength for good show in Tokyo Olympics

Avinash Sharma

New Delhi, Feb 26: Young India shooter Manu Bhaker says the Indian shooters aren't supposed to be worried about the threats of novel coronavirus even as the national shooting federation claimed that it will not allow its shooters to travel abroad for training.

Talking to media persons during a press conference in New Delhi, the 18-year-old shooter said, "I don't think we have to be worried about it. The athletes won't be mentally affected by it because the federation is there to keep in the best interests of the shooters."

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh on Wednesday (February 26) while addressing the media persons said the federation won't hesitate in pulling out of a Tokyo Olympics Test event in April if it becomes a health risk.

Manu Bhaker, who won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games 2018 in 10-meter air pistol shooting, will be one of the medal hopefuls for India at the Tokyo Olympics. India expects a good medal haul from shooting in the biggest sporting spectacle on earth as there are more than 15 shooters who will represent the country in various categories.

Before the Olympics, Indian shooters will be in action during the ISSF World Cup 2020 in New Delhi and aim for a positive show.

When asked about her preparations for the upcoming ISSF World Cup in India and Tokyo Olympics, Manu Bhaker said her main focus is on her technique for that is the way forward.

"My prime focus in the run-up to the ISSF World Cup and Olympics is to work on my technique for that takes us head. Apart from that, I am also working on keeping myself physically and mentally fit, especially working on mental fitness. I am genuinely trying my level best to keep my country's medal aspirations high.

Asked what she does on improve her mental strength the Jhajjar girl said, "I am basically working on my mental stability. You achieve it by meditation, you try to calm yourself down and control your thought process.

Talking about her plans for the upcoming Shooting World Cup, the 2018 ISSF World Cup gold medal winner said that her sole aim is to do well and win a medal.

"I am looking forward to doing well in the World Cup and win a medal for my country. It will be a good morale booster ahead of the Olympics."

This is will be her maiden Olympic appearance and when asked if she's talking to some senior players or reading about the experiences of the former Olympians to prepare herself for the mega event, Manu said, "This is a good idea actually, but right now I am focussing on my performance. I have my coach and he helps me with anything and everything so I'll get the best of advice from him."

When asked how does she approach big events like Asian Games and Commonwealth Games and what will be her preparations for the Olympics, she said, "I am generally very positive about my approach and try not taking too much of pressure before the games. When it comes to big events, I try to keep my mind shut from all the noise. I keep myself occupied with books, listen to music, dancing, or write dairies to prevent myself from distractions.

"As far as the Olympics are concerned, I've tried to keep myself fresh about it and haven't discussed it with anybody. But at the same time, I am very excited about it. Since Olympic is such a big event, I am trying to calm myself down."

When asked what has changed in her shooting in the last couple of years that is helping her to do so well at the big stages, Manu credited the experience she has gained in the last two years.

"Definitely the experience that I have gained has helped me improve my game. I have learnt how to keep myself calm and composed when things are not going my way or the result is not as per my expectation. I've learnt to be positive and keep myself motivated even after failing to deliver in some competition. I've learnt to control my emotions better and I am looking forward to future challenges."

When asked how does she prepare for the team events, Manu said she gives equal importance to team sports but during the matches, she takes it as an individual sport.

"Team games are equally important but when I am playing with Saurabh or Abhishek I don't talk much with them. My sole focus during the games is to focus on individual performance and if I do well, my team will automatically do well," she added further.

When asked how she plans to manage the pressure and expectations of the people in the run-up to the Olympics, she said, "I think that the people are backing me to win an Olympic medal is a big confidence booster for me. It is their love and affection that will keep me motivated."

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