In less than three months of training at the training ground, coach Ronak Pandit and Manu Baker have “drawn up a plan”, boosting the gunman’s hopes for a finish on the podium at the Olympics.
Pandit has led Bhaker since his breakup with Jaspal Rana, one of India’s top gun shooters and with whom she has become a world-class fighter after many excellent results in top international events.
They split after the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi in March. Pandit coached Bhaker for about a month and a half during the Indian team’s tour of Croatia, controlling his final phase of training.
“We trained for about two and a half to three months and made a plan for it,” Pandit, a gold medalist at the British Community Games (paired with Samaresh Jung in 2006), told PTI Tokyo.
One of the three pistol shooting coaches with the Indian team, Pandit has full faith in Baker’s abilities and says that the high expectations do not bother either the shooter or himself.
“They are the pros and cons of expectations, but Manu, even at the age of 16 and 17, shot at world cups and won medals. She is very even and used to such pressure and expectations.
“Before the Olympics, she is calm and reserved, fully focused on the task,” he said.
Pandit added that it is “absolutely important” to ensure that shooters are protected from any kind of distraction in the time between qualifiers and finals.
Armed with years of coaching experience after an active career as a gun shooter, Pandit is optimistic about the prospects of Indian shooters in Tokyo.
He had traveled to London and Rio de Janeiro for the 2012 and 2016 Games as the personal trainer of Hyena Sidhu, his wife and one of India’s participation in the gun events.
In Tokyo, Pandit will have his hands full as Bhaker will shoot in three games – a 10m individual and mixed team (with Saurabh Chaudhary) and a 25m pistol – but he is ready for that, as is the world number two shooter. 10m air pistol.
Until the Indian team got enough time to train on Wednesday, the official training started on Thursday.
“We had a short 20-30 minute training yesterday, as the official training only started today. The 50-meter run was closed from Thursday so that all air shooters could practice at full steam.
Calling Bhaker a complete shooter, Ronak said they focused mainly on performance in situations of pressure.
“We prepared a lot for the finals, we discussed how the mind affects the body and how we could manage the mind better for a better performance of the technique. We made good progress in the time we got and I’m happy with it.
“They just have to focus on the process and not think much about the results. The appearance of the Olympics is different from other events,” he said.
Meanwhile, air rifle shooters from various countries trained in the final hall on Thursday, including Indian Divyansh Singh Panwar, who will shoot on the second day of competition on July 25th.
The Olympic Games are planned to be held from July 23 to August 8, and the shooting events will spread during the first 10 days of the extravaganza, which will be held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.