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‘Tips from Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra changed my mindset’

Ravi Kumar, who is representing India at the Shooting World Cup, says Olympics medallist Abhinav Bindra’s invaluable tips has helped him make quantum jump in terms of performance in the past one year.

other sports Updated: Oct 24, 2017 10:29 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Abhinav Bindra,Ravi Kumar,Shooting World Cup
Ravi Kumar is participating in the individual 10m air rifle event of the World Cup Final that kick-starts from Tuesday(HT Photo)

Training tips from Beijing Olympics medallist Abhinav Bindra changed his concept towards sports in general and shooting in particular says national 10m air rifle champion Ravi Kumar.

The shooter from Air Force is participating in the individual 10m air rifle event of the World Cup Final that kick-starts from Tuesday here at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges and says, Bindra’s invaluable tips has helped him make quantum jump in terms of performance in the past one year.

READ | Abhinav Bindra cherishes ‘journey and process’ on his Olympic Gold anniversary

“I was on the fringes and now I am rubbing shoulders with the best in the business. All this was possible due interaction with Bindra in the past one year,” he says. “There was time I was laying emphasis on my scores and was struggling to achieve big numbers. But Bindra’s advice helped me to overcome that mental barrier. He told me to focus on basics during training as well as competition. It made big difference to my overall performance.”

The International shooter from Meerut has followed Bindra’s advice judiciously and his recent past performance is ample proof of that.

Personal best

This year of the three World Cups he participated he reached final in two---Delhi and Munich---finishing eighth and fifth respectively. During Munich World Cup he also shot a personal best of 629.1 in qualification.

According to 27-year-old Ravi Kumar, in a highly competitive field the world top shooters score 630 and more. He too has starting achieving that figure in training. “During competition If I stay in 630 zone in qualification and shoot above 250 in final, will be more successful shooter at the global level,” he says.

READ | Abhinav Bindra may appear in film on shooting star’s life

In 2014 during Incheon Asian Games, pairing with Sanjeev Rajput and Abhinav Bindra he got team bronze. Same year he finished fourth in individual 10m air rifle event at Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Thereafter, he missed major part of 2015-2016 season including Rio Olympic Games qualification events due to department training.

On the eve of the World Cup Final, he was confident of a good show. “Being a national champion or leading shooter doesn’t carry much weight. What matters these days is podium finish in global competitions. And, I am eagerly looking to break that barrier,” he says.

Borrowed weapon

Like several top shooters Ravi Kumar too started his shooting career with a borrowed weapon. “Those days were challenging. One weapon was used by four or five shooters. It was big struggle,” he says of his formative years in 2008.

READ | Abhinav Bindra says Sydney Games gave him belief to win Olympic gold

However, he got a break in 2010 when he joined Air Force through sports quota. He believes shooting has become expensive and beyond the preview of ordinary people. “To begin with a novice might need over Rs 4 lakh to purchase basic equipment including air rifle and apparel. The cost will spiral if the target is podium finish at international level,” says the international shooter whose name is included in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme.

Decimal matters

Competitive shooting is all about decimal points. In the past five years--- Ravi Kumar could only add five points to his qualification scores----from 624 in 2013 he reached 629.1 in 2017. On an average it comes to one point in 12 months. This despite the fact he has been averaging over six hours of regular training. His performance graph also reveals importance of professional training pattern. The shooter admits, it’s not just pulling trigger at the ranges, but professional coaching staff is needed to excel at higher level.

Perhaps, those hard earned five points has also helped him earn a sponsor and a personal physio too. “It should further help me add more valuable points to my performance,” he says of his future plans.