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Anjali hopes to be third time lucky

other Updated: Jul 26, 2008 17:41 IST
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The absolute no-hoper in her sizzled in Sydney but as the toast of the nation in Athens, Anjali Bhagwat misfired four years later. Post a sabbatical that took her away from the spotlight, the veteran shooter quietly leaves for Beijing Olympics hoping to be third time lucky.

Anjali landed in Sydney in 2000 with a 'hardship' quota and finished a creditable seventh, thus becoming the first Indian to make it to the final of a shooting event.

Then came her annus mirabilis 2002 and Anjali shot four golds in the Manchester Commonwealth Games. Outside the shooting range, expectations kept rising and she eventually wilted under them in the 2004 Athens Olympics, finishing 20th in her pet 10m air rifle event.

The result forced her into wilderness before she realised there is no escaping from shooting, a phase she recalls in her website.

"I really did not decide to continue shooting after the Athens Olympics but then when I tried to keep away from the arena, I became restless, I became mad," says Anjali.

Talking to PTI, the rifle shooter feels while inexperience cost her a medal in Sydney, ill-conceived plans doomed her in Athens.

"I was just not prepared enough in Sydney even though I still put up a decent show. It was only 10 days before the event that I got to know that I would be competing in Olympics.

"At Athens, it was simply not my day. Besides, I was too serious. I just forgot to relax. I got my plans terribly wrong. I participated almost in each and every tournament and peaked at the wrong time. By the time I landed in Athens, my campaign was actually over," she rued.