With improved patience, Sift passes the pressure trials test - Hindustan Times
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With improved patience, Sift passes the pressure trials test

ByRutvick Mehta, Bhopal
May 17, 2024 10:02 PM IST

The rapidly rising 50m rifle 3 positions shooter showed why she will be one of India's best bets at Paris

The shooting ranges of Bhopal had given Sift Kaur Samra her first-ever senior individual medal at the World Cup last year. A year on as India's most rapidly rising 50m rifle 3 positions shooter walked out of that hall again, this time with a Paris Olympics berth locked and as an Asian Games medallist and a world record holder, she singled out patience as her most developed virtue.

Indian shooter Sift Kaur Samra(PTI)
Indian shooter Sift Kaur Samra(PTI)

"My patience has improved a lot. I didn't have a lot of experience a year ago. My thinking was to just finish the matches. Now, I know how to handle aspects like wind and pressure," she said.

Both of which came to the fore on Friday. Coming into the final qualification round without a top finish to her name — she had won the first and second finals but that only awarded decimal points — and under a hint of pressure, the 22-year-old delivered her best round of 593. Shooting down 10s even amid steady breeze, a top finish in the qualification was produced and a top-two spot in the trials secured before the finals on Saturday. The strong finish, to go with her two bonus points as the quota holder, was important in keeping Ashi Chouksey at bay.

"I was a bit nervous at the start, because this was the last chance. And I knew where I was standing and what I had to do. But after the start, when I finished kneeling and started the prone, my confidence grew. After that things were completely different," Sift said. "My only thought was to correct the mistakes I had made in my previous matches and come back to the top (among the shooters in fray)."

The breakthrough at the Asian Games, where she won the individual women's 50m rifle 3 positions gold and the team silver, was backed up by a silver at this year's Asian Championships even as her world record scores broke shackles. Ask her if she is left surprised by such high scores in her event, though, and pat comes the reply: "Why will I be surprised? I only started it. New generation, new techniques, new scores."

It sums up her carefree attitude, outlook towards the sport and the ability to not let pressure play a decisive factor, as yet, in her young and promising shooting career.

“I do feel pressure, but controlling that pressure is what shooting is about,” she said. “These four trials were quite hard for all of us, because we knew that no matter what our past results or rankings are, we have to perform in this. I'm happy that I could do that here.”

That’s where her greater patience is beginning to come in handy. “That has come with more experience for me,” she said. Not quite with the commonly trusted mental techniques of yoga or meditation. "I'm different from other people. I do nothing to help clear my mind — I watch movies, dance, talk to friends.”

Now that the pressure event is done and taken care of, Sift is looking forward to shooting “for myself” at the Munich World Cup leading into the Paris Games. The most pleasing aspect for her from these trials, especially from the final qualification round here on Friday, was her ability to shoot well despite the challenge presented by the wind.

“When amid this strong breeze I could shoot 10s, it was a nice feeling. If I could manage such scores here, there (in Paris) it will be a bit easier," she said. "The pressure matches are done. Now we can shoot for ourselves and not for our selection. I can try a few things in Munich and see how it goes. I want to polish a few things that I'm doing right now.”

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