Indian fan favourite shooter, Manu Bhaker is set to feature in three events at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. She has been picked to represent the nation in the 10m air pistol, 25m sports pistol and 10m air pistol mixed competitions.
The 19-year-old has been in superb form in recent years and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has reiterated their trust in her. Ahead of the Summer Games, she is unfazed by the big occasion and feels that she is well adept to perform on the big stage.
“I have been shooting in three events at the international level for the past three years. Why would there be any pressure on me?” she told The Times of India in a recent interaction.
“I sort of knew that I would be selected for three events, but the confirmation from NRAI has only cleared the ambiguity if any. I think it is a result of my performance in the past three years and I am thankful to the selection committee and NRAI president for showing faith in me.”
As the NRAI selected the Indian shooting team, the biggest surprise from the team sheet was the omission of Chinki Yadav who recently clinched gold in the 25m Air Pistol event at the ISSF Shooting World Cup. Yadav was named among the reserve shooters while Bhaker kept her place.
“I have maintained the no.1 position in 10m and 25m trials. I have been shooting better scores than anyone else. I had to make way for others at the Asian Championships and shoot in MQS so that others can get a chance to shoot for (Olympic) quota,” she said.
Speaking about her schedule the 19-year-old shooter revealed how she is doing everything in her power to prepare for the Olympics. Bhaker is one of India’s biggest medal hopefuls and she is trying to live up to the expectations.
“I get up at six in the morning and reach the range at 8:30. I am home at 3:30 and have my physical sessions followed by my training with the psychologist and then I go to bed by 9:30 at night,” stated the World No. 2.
Turning the negatives into positives, Bhaker feels that the postponement of the Summer Games by a year due to the pandemic has helped her mature as a person.
“The Games postponed for a year, but then that was for everybody. I have invested a lot of mental energy into the Olympics. However, a lot of changes in a year, performance and personality-wise.
“For me, it has been for good. I have grown as a person in the last one year and it is certainly helping me with my performance. I am nervously excited about going to the Olympics,” she concluded.