Winning a gold medal in an international competition is a daunting task. So when Anisa Sayyed bagged two in the pistol shooting event at the Commonwealth Games, praise and accolade were quick to come. That she pulled off the feat without a coach makes it a bigger achievement. In a chat with HT, Anisa spoke of her initial struggle, CWG, handling the limelight and the task ahead.
How does it feel to be called a double gold-medallist?
It feels great. Many people are surprised at my performance, but not me, I worked hard for this. I won gold at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships earlier in the year, so I was confident. Having said that, to stand on the podium with your national anthem playing, is a moment of extreme pride.
Is there a change in how people treat you now that you have stamped your class in the sport?
There is a sense of recognition. But there is also some way to go before shooters become household names. As for officials, their support was excellent in the run-up to the Games. The government, shooting federation, my sponsors, Tulip Telecom, all played a crucial role.
The pistol team didn't have a coach, how difficult was it to manage without one?
There are a hundred things a shooter has to consider to find the mark consistently. A coach streamlines the options. Not having one meant a sort of trial and error method that required enormous patience.
Some international shooters criticized the Kadarpur Range on technical grounds. Your take.
Both ranges (Karni Singh Range is the other one) are world class. It is not rhetoric. I have been to international competitions and I have seen the very same people who are complaining fire without a whimper despite glaring shortcomings.
You have been through a fair bit of struggle before the Games. How did you cope?
There have been a few. To be specific, the lack of a sport-specific programme in the Railways, where I was employed earlier, was a bad phase. It wasn't anyone's fault as it simply did not exist. I was quite frustrated for a considerable period of time.
What is the plan for the future and possibly bigger tournaments?
All eyes are on the Asian Games and continuing the good form there. A berth in the Olympics is the real target. It will be cold and we have no time to acclimatise but we are raring to stamp our class again.