Seeking to steer away from negativity, Indian pistol ace Manu Bhaker says she will continue to shoot in three events, including the 25m, vowing to make a strong comeback after enduring a hat-trick of heartbreaks on her Olympics debut.

Speaking to PTI after arriving from Tokyo, the 19-year-old said there was negativity around her shooting and preparations in the run-up to the Olympics, due to the conflict with former coach Jaspal Rana, who had insisted that she withdraws from the 25m pistol event.

“I will continue to shoot in 25m event,” Bhaker said as she readied to leave the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday.

While the controversy around her dispute with Rana did have an impact on her performance, wanting to win medals at all cost made it worse, the Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games gold medallist said. Bhaker had earned her Tokyo quota during the ISSF World Cup in Munich.

“Yes, there was negativity as my mother and father were also forced to get involved in this whole issue. Questions like why my mother is with me in Bhopal (for training and trials) and why is my father accompanying would be asked by him. So, there was negativity,” she said.

Among other things, there were technical problems which “were not addressed” by the former coach.

She also made it clear that she did not send any message to Rana during the ISSF World Cup in Delhi in March this year, saying that it was sent by her mother who was “getting worried” about her daughter.

The message Rana received was, “Ab to mil gayee na tassalli” (now you must be content) after Bhaker got a bronze when she was expected to win a gold medal.

Rana paraded at the Karni Singh shooting ranges with the message imprinted on the back of his white T-shirt, forcing the National Rifle Association of India to intervene.

Tokyo 2020, shooting: NRAI head on ‘negative factor’ with Manu Bhaker’s former coach pre-Olympics

Given the circumstances, the shooter said the NRAI and its president Raninder Singh did all they could to arrive at the best possible solution as the Games approached, including bringing in former India shooter Ronak Pandit as her coach.

“The NRAI was looking for the best solution available to the whole problem, to all the problems, and they also took us into confidence,” she said.

On the brighter side, Bhaker said she has come back with plenty of learnings from her first appearance at the Olympics.

“I definitely gained a lot of experience. Got lot of warmth from people, from my teammates. It will, hopefully, help me in future to prepare and perform. I am young and have a long career ahead. I tried my best this time,” Bhaker, a multiple World Cup gold medallist, said.

Bhaker also said that she will be better prepared to handle tricky situations in the future.

One of India’s biggest hopes at the Tokyo Olympics, she could not come back with what she had dreamed of, failing to reach the finals in her three events, the first of which was marred by a major weapon malfunction.

Tokyo 2020, shooting: Explaining the unfortunate pistol issue that India’s Manu Bhaker faced