The stage is getting bigger and the expectations are going higher but Indian shooting star Manu Bhaker is grounded as the 16-year-old gears up for another test at next month’s Asian Games.
“I want to do well in those events [Asian Games followed by World Championships] but, frankly speaking, I am mainly thinking about competing in the next competition and not about medals. Pressure is there, but it’s there everywhere,” the shooter from Jhajjar, Haryana told PTI.
Bhaker also said that she is not affected by the controversies surrounding her selection in all three pistol events for the Asian Games, scheduled to be held in Jakarta and Palembeng from August 18. The teenager, who has had a golden run this year with medal in almost every event she had participated in, will compete in 10m air pistol, 25m sports pistol and mixed air pistol at the Asian Games.
Earlier, veteran shooter Heena Sidhu had hit out at the National Rifle Association of India saying that the federation was bending rules to favour some people in a thinly-veiled reference to the Haryana girl.
One of the “favourites” is understood to be Bhaker, who remains unperturbed by the controversy.
“Main sirf khelne se matlab rakhti hoon, bas (I am only concerned about my shooting). I am fine if I am picked in three events, if they select me for one event I am fine, and if I am not picked for one, then also I am ok,” she said.
“I can’t think about selection. I don’t allow all these things to weigh me down,” she added.
Earlier this year, she claimed an individual gold medal in her first senior World Cup appearance in Mexico, becoming the youngest Indian shooter to finish top of the podium. She repeated the gold-medal winning feat at the ensuing Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast as well.
The expectations will understandably be high as she gears up to compete in the upcoming tournaments.
“In recent times I have worked a lot on the technical aspect, have tried to improve my scores, but you can’t shoot well all the time.”
The Asiad will be followed by the ISSF World Championships from August 31 in South Korea, which will be the first quota event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The back-to-back events can be strenuous but the teen says her preparation for both events have been good. “My body is recovering now after months of training and competition. I will be off to Bhopal for a junior camp on August 1, having just come back from a senior camp,” she said.
With inputs from PTI