Jaspal Rana feels the Asian Games heartbreak was a blessing in disguise for Manu Bhaker, who clinched a gold medal in shooting at the Youth Olympics.
The moment of glory at the Youth Olympics, according to the acclaimed shooter-turned-coach, makes her a strong contender for an Olympic medal in 2020.
Bhaker, the Commonwealth Games champion, shot 236.5 to finish on top of the podium in the women’s 10m air pistol event.
Rana admitted that not being able to continue her medal-winning run in Indonesia may have proved to be a boon.
“These shooters are clearly Olympic materials and we should be careful in preparing them for glory in the world’s biggest sporting event. I am really happy with the way our shooters have performed here (Buenos Aires). We already have three medals and could have actually had two gold medals,” said the junior national coach, who’s won multiple Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medals.
Mehuli Ghosh could have won a gold medal, too, had she scored better than 9.1 in her 24th and final shot.
Asked about Bhaker’s Asian Games heartbreak, Rana said, “Yes, I think definitely that could help. Though we all want to win but you can’t win everyday. You will rise one day, you will fall another. That’s how it is.”
“But she has done well and I am really happy for her. There was pressure and there were so much expectations, which I don’t think is fair. At the end of the day, one must remember that she’s just a 16-year-old.”
“She may not win everyday, but the experience will help her become a better shooter,” Rana said.
Rana also said that Olympic gold-medallist pistol shooter Anna Korakaki from Greece followed Bhaker at the range for two days.
“She was there yesterday (Monday) and she was also there for the qualification and final today. She was speaking about Manu’s shooting. I think it’s nice that a shooter of her (Korakaki’s) calibre spoke about her,” the coach said.
Representing her country at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a 20-year-old, Korakaki won a gold medal in the 25m pistol and a bronze in the 10m air pistol.