I know what I am fighting for. After a point of time, you have to tell yourself, medals don’t matter. You have got to think long-term. You’ve got to be patient. You have to tell yourself what matters more is the experience. What matters more is the fact that I am competing week in and week out, preparing myself for next year’s Olympic Games. I have to go to Tokyo.
And that, is not going to be easy, I know. My coach, Joydeep sir, tells me this every day. India has four-five top shooters in the Air Rifle event and there is little to separate the ones in that bracket. I don’t think that there has been such fierce competition within the country in one event before.
You know what? It makes things more exciting, the competition I mean. It’s a very interesting fight, in fact, I’m enjoying this fight more than anything else right now. Every time I walk up to the mark and aim at the target, I have only one thought — I have to perform well. If I don’t, I might miss the ticket to Tokyo.
But I don’t let the pressure get to me. When I see someone shooting good scores, I tell myself, “If she can, why can’t I?” Also, you can learn so much just by watching someone who is in good form and shooting well. I try to learn by watching others, at least. How they are doing, what more I can do, different techniques — I try to pick up whatever I can.
I don’t think about medals. It does not matter whether I am taking part in the MQS or the main event. All that matters is how I perform, how high my score is. I know what I am capable of. I have accepted it. This is how I find motivation.
My whole idea about coping with this strange situation is following ‘human excellence’. That is beyond material achievement or winning medals, how much as a human being I can go, to what limit can I push myself to.
That is why I have been able to maintain good scores. I can see that with my scores, I would have made it to the finals in at least three of the four World Cups, and then also at the Asian Shooting Championships. But I have learnt to be satisfied for now. It’s not over.
Don’t get me wrong. It hurts that I am not in the main event. It hurts that I cannot go into the finals and have a crack at medals, especially when winning medals at these meets would almost certainly guarantee my spot at the Tokyo Olympics. But I have found a way to be satisfied at the moment and focus on long term goals instead of trying to do too much too soon.
My coach says that’s a good thing, and you should believe him! Joydeep sir is always telling me that it’s just a matter of a few competitions. He says the experience that I have garnered is more valuable than anything else and that it would help me in the big tournaments to come.
Talking of big tournaments, the upcoming ISSF Shooting World Cup finals in China will be a huge one for me. It will be my first time at such a big event and I am a tad bit nervous. But it’s okay to be a little nervous, I guess. I just hope everything will go well.
It feels like ages since I had a chance to fight for a medal and I am hungry, I want to feel that rush of winning a medal again… you know, that bone-chilling, spine-tingling sensation when you are on the podium and the national anthem is playing...how I miss that!
I want to get back to winning medals for India. But it won’t come easy. Nothing comes easy in life. But then again, it would not be so pleasing if it were easy.