'We aim to touch our peak form in London'

'We aim to touch our peak form in London'

'We aim to touch our peak form in London'

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's silver medal in Athens and Abhinav Bindra's gold in Beijing have highlighted the remarkable strides made by Indian shooters in recent times.

As another Games appro­ach, the nation expects another good performance from the
11-member shooting team that will take aim in London.

National coach Prof Sunny Thomas spoke to Deccan Herald about the preparations and the team’s chances.


How do you assess our preparations this time?

Preparations have gone according to plan and we are trying to peak for the Olympics. We had some build-up competitions and that phase is over now. It is all about final polishing and we are heading off to Germany for that. Most of our shooters will arrive in London on July 21 while shot-gun shooters, who are training in Italy, and Abhinav Bindra will enter the village on July 16 itself.

Shooters have been doing well in recent times. In Athens we won a silver and in Beijing, we had our first gold. Do you see the tally going up this time?

We pray, wish and hope for the same. Compared to nine shooters in Beijing, we have 11 this time. Indian contingent itself is the largest ever and the hopes are that we will better our Beijing showing when we won three medals.

From the shooting point of view, it all depends on the day's form. Unlike other sports, we are not competing against others, we are competing with ourselves. The mental aspect is in focus here, and for some of us, the weather also will be a factor.

I expect it to be windy but it won't be as cold as it was during April, when London hosted the World Cup. The 50M rifle shooters and shot gun shooters will have to be contend with windy conditions. The temperature is about 21 degrees celsius now, so it won't be a concern.

The Indians haven't really sparkled in World Cups this year...

We didn't plan it that way. If we peak in each of the World Cups, we won't be able to come up with our best performance in London. In general, our scores in the third World Cup were better. So a gradual progress is there. We don't want a scenario like the Asian Games when our shooters' performances dipped after they had peaked for the Commonwealth Games just a month earlier.

What are our medal chances this time?

I don't like to make predictions but nine of our shooters have earned their quotas competing at the highest level and and winning medals against the best in the world.  So I can say that we are at par with the best. If they repeat their best performances, they can come up with medals. As for our preparations, I can say that it was well planned this time.

Gagan Narang will be competing in three events -- 10M air rifle, 50M prone and 50M three-positions. Isn't it too much of a burden?

You can look at it in two ways. Of course, the physical stress will be there but aware of the fact that there are other events to compete in, he will have less tension. And he knows well that his focus, his main event, is the 10M air rifle.

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