Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul: Grounded despite Glasgow high

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2014 01:36 IST

Apurvi Chandela can hardly stop smiling these days. "All of a sudden, a lot of people have started recognising me. Earlier, it was my friends who would congratulate me after an event, but now a lot more come and express their joy," the 21-year-old shooter, who won the 10m air rifle gold at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, said during a meet-the-press organised by Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) on Wednesday.

For a shooter, adulation can be a double-edged sword as the sport demands the highest degree of focus and mental strength, perhaps more than any other discipline.

With the Asian Games approaching, the increasing number of press meets and accompanying photo-shoots are hardly helping in that aspect.

"I know these could distract my focus. I guess I will be doing all this only for a few more days. Then I will switch off my phone and focus on the Games. I am trying my best to be the way I was before the CWG."

So has she already set her sights on another gold medal? "At an event or when I am approaching a competition, I do not set a target. I prefer to take one shot at a time. Of course, I realise that I am representing the country and there is a strong will to make the people proud," she said.

Rio dreams for Ayonika Ayonika Paul, who clinched silver alongside Apurvi to complete a one-two for India at Glasgow, has a different approach.

"My aim is the Olympics. The World Championship will be held soon, and I have to perform well there to make it to Rio. I now have a silver and bronze in my cabinet… I would love to complete the collection during the World Championship," said the 21-year-old with a smile.

On how an organisation like OGQ helps athletes, considering that financial requirements are still met by the government, Ayonika said, "Of course, the government is doing a good job, with the financial assistance, coaches and all the facilities. But each athlete will have his or her needs. For me, personally, the OGQ has been really helpful by providing a personal trainer. Also in the field of mental training, they have been helpful. What they bring in more is bespoke training and conditioning. But yes, the government is still the biggest contributor."

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