Given India’s performance over the past two years, shooting definitely is a prospective medal sport in Beijing.
The shooters too mean business. India nine-member shooting contingent is already at the Games Village. All had a practice session in the morning and as they said “the countdown has finally begun”.
“We reached Beijing yesterday after a five-day training session in Malaysia. The Games Village is beautiful and the accommodation too is good. The entire atmosphere is very lively. We had a training round in the morning and it went off well,” said Avneet Sidhu while sharing her first-day experience in Beijing with HT.
“Before reaching here, we had a short training stint in Malaysia. The practice load was not much and basically it was an acclimatisation camp. Moreover, the climate in Langkawi, Malaysia, is similar to Beijing’s, and the time difference, too, is not much,” she added.
Avneet, Anjali Vedpathak, Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput went to Malaysia before joining the others shooters in Beijing.
On people’s expectations from them, Avneet said: “Expectations are natural as we are among the very few sportspersons who are representing such a large nation.
“I definitely feel more responsible and it reminds me that there are so many people who are behind me. So, I have to do my best to live up to their expectations.
“But there is no unnecessary pressure because of this. At the same time, it is also very motivating when people tell me that they will pray for me and they believe in me.”
A gold-medallist at 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Avneet got a shot in the arm before the Beijing Olympics as she was named among the 11 Arjuna Award winners on Monday. “When I got to know about the award in the morning, I was very excited and could not concentrate on my practice initially. Then I realised what I was in Beijing for, and calmed down and had a good training session.”