All shooters are hungry, want to erase memories of Rio Olympics: Tejaswini Sawant
India dominated the shooting discipline from 2002 to 2010, but slipped to third spot at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Tejaswini Sawant is hopeful of India doing well againother sports Updated: Mar 23, 2018 09:57 IST
Seasoned rifle shooter Tejaswini Sawant believes target shooting is on the upswing. A member of the national squad bound for the Commonwealth Games (CWG), starting at the Belmont Shooting Centre in Brisbane from April 8, Tejaswini said, “In 2006 before the Melbourne Games, there were fewer facilities and a lot of struggle. Things have changed. There are people coming forward to sponsor advanced training in Europe. It’s contributing to overall development.”
India dominated the discipline from 2002 to 2010, but slipped to third spot in 2014 Glasgow.
In the past two editions of the Games, Tejaswini has claimed five medals, including two gold in 2006. She said the mushrooming of academies, set up by former international shooters, is another big step. “Shooters like Gagan Narang are contributing in a big way. A decade back such things never existed. Small things are making a difference,” she said on the sidelines of send-off ceremony for the CWG on Thursday.
On the not-so-encouraging performance at the Rio Olympic Games, she said losing could be a blessing in disguise. “Not winning sometimes makes a huge difference. All the shooters are hungry and want to erase memories of the 2016 Olympic Games,” she said.
She felt the CWG is a good platform to build confidence for a challenging season. “A good medals tally will add to the confidence and prepare the team for tougher events like the Asian Games and World Championships, which is qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” she said.
Tejaswini is upbeat about the Olympics. “That’s the target for us. The more quota places we win the better,” she said.
Shotgun shooters bound for CWG are feeling the absence of foreign expert Marcello Dradi.
The national camp started last week but the Italian coach is yet to arrive. Former world No 1 in double trap Ankur Mittal said he was managing on his own. After the recent Mexico World Cup, the shotgun team was supposed to train in Italy but the proposal was turned down by government.
An official of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said there was confusion as the date was changed from March 25 to 20. “The coach has informed us on his availability, he will reach on Friday,” he added.