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‘Best shooting team ever’

Trap shooter Manavjit Singh Sandhu drums up optimism ahead of the London Games.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: July 3, 2012 3:43:36 am

While it appears that time may be running out with just 25 days to go before the start of the London Olympics,that is far from the case for India’s Olympic contingent. “Considering the training that we are doing,and because we pack so much in one day,24-days feels like a really long time,” says trap shooter Manavjit Sandhu speaking of his preparations.

Sandhu who will be taking part in his third consecutive Olympics adds that the shooting contingent departing for the London Games could be India’s best ever. “The shooting team has a mix of youngsters and experienced people. Most of us are in top form and we are well prepared. I can say this is the best Indian shooting team in Olympics and so definitely we will perform better than in Beijing,” he said.

Indeed comparing the first time he went for the Olympics,in 2004,in Athens,Sandhu said things had changed dramatically for the better.

“When I went,we were just glad to be there,it was very amateurish. Now we feel far more professional. Indian shooting has changed a lot. We have world beaters now and we have lots of experienced shooters,” said the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee.

Sandhu attributed much of the change to the the gold medal won by Abhinav Bindra in the last edition.

“I can’t say we will win two gold medals. Abhinav won a gold in Beijing and of course that will be our rallying point. I am sure this time it will be better than Beijing,” he added.

According to Sandhu the most difficult thing would be to control ones emotions on the day of the event.

“Olympics comes in four years and performance on that particular day matters. So there is always some nervousness in the thought that whether you will be able to give your best on that day or else all the hard work will go waste. So,keeping calm and maintaining focus is important. For all first time Olympians,the most difficult thing will be to control your nerves,” he said. Indeed,speaking of his training schedule in the run up to the games,Sandhu said he would be training as well as relaxing. “At the same time,you need to ensure that you are focused and not get injured.”

Sandhu’s words were agreed to by double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi who will be appearing in his debut Olympiad. Sodhi who was the first shooter to qualify for the Games says that factor has given him ample time to prepare himself. While the most drastic change has been his weight loss — he says he has lost nearly 25 kilos — he has also experimented with a few adjustments to his technique. The key he said is simply to take the Games as any other World Level Event.

“I am mentally prepared. I am not going to do anything different and change my gameplan in London. Because of the I will do the same I have been doing previously,” says Sodhi. who tipped India’s shooters to win three medals at the game .

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