Could the ISSF Junior Shooting World Championships be a fresh start for Manu Bhaker?
Manu Bhaker is itching for a new start. And what better for a fresh start than a tournament where one has already tasted success in?
The young Indian pistol shooter, Manu Bhaker, endured a tough time at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Having entered the quadrennial event as one of India's brightest medal prospects, the 19-year-old was unable to live up to the hype and thus became the punching bag for fans.
It has been close to two months since that horror show in Tokyo in Bhaker. A lot has happened since then, including shooters Avani Lekhara and Manish Narwal winning gold medals at the Tokyo Paralympics. However, the criticisms Manu Bhaker continues to cope with is tremendous.
Just a casual swipe through the social media comments section of her recent posts, and one can sense the flak she continues to receive.
Bhaker has been off the shooting range for quite some time. She took to the range only four days back and posted a video on Twitter.
The video was captioned, "Let's start again."
The very first reply to that tweet, however, is of an article where Bhaker's coach, Ronak Pandit, states that she has some technical issues and is not ready to compete.
Nonetheless, in the long run, what matters is the acknowledgement of problems and to get back on your feet and hit back.
While Pandit did the former a long back, Manu's tweet straightforwardly explains she is raring to go. She is itching for a new start. And what better for a fresh start than a tournament where you already have enjoyed tremendous success in?
The ISSF Junior Shooting World Cup in 2018 is what brought a young Manu Bhaker into the spotlight. Aged just 16 then, Bhaker went on to clinch two gold medals in Sydney in March before backing it up with a gold and a silver in Suhl, Germany during the month of June. She has since not competed at the Junior level.
One of the only two shooters from the Indian Olympic contingent to have been named for the Junior World Championships in Las Palmas, Peru there cannot be a better opportunity for Bhaker to bounce back.
The youngster is expected to play in five events in Peru, including the three she competed in at Tokyo. Yes, there surely would be knives out at Bhaker's neck if she fails to impress in the coming week but one can quite certainly expect her to handle the pressure much better than she did in Tokyo.