Eyeing a golden redemptionReported by Deccan Herald on Tuesday, 3 July 2012 (on July 3, 2012)
*Beijing is a bad memory for Ronjan Sodhi. But like all true champions, India's shooting star has moved on and set his eyes on the next big target.
London 2012 is his mission, passion and sole focus now, and as the event draws closer, the double trap shooter is feeling an acute sense of readiness.
"I do feel I am ready for it. I qualified for the Olympics in June last year and that is more than a year now. My preparations started then and everything has gone according to plan. I have been training hard and the competitions along the way has helped me to gear up for the Olympics," says Sodhi, talking to Deccan Herald from his training base in Lonato, Italy.
Heading to London, Sodhi is seen as one of India's brightest medal hopes, thanks to his impressive performances over the last four years. His moment could have come in Beijing but after failing to earn a quota for the 2008 bash, even two world record performances could not prompt the international body to grant him a spot, leaving him disappointed.
"That is all past now. I have got over that disappointment and am focused on the task on hand," says the jovial 32-year-old from Ferozepur who has taken over the mantle from Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - the man who brought double trap into national consciousness with his silver medal at the Athens Games in 2004.
Sodhi might not match Abhinav Bindra when it comes to obsession but he has made it a habit of turning disappointments into launching pads that have propelled him into the elite list of double trap marksmen. Gold medals in the last two World Cup finals showed he is up there with the very best but Sodhi himself considers the Guangzhou Asian Gamesin 2010 - when he won India's only gold medal in shooting -- as a turning point.
"The wins in World Cup finals have boosted my confidence but the Asian Games was important from a different perspective," says Sodhi. "At the Commonwealth Games just before the Asiad, I could win only silver. So it was a bit disappointing and it was very vital for me to win in Guangzhou. Beating the Chinese in their home range was very satisfying and the event changed me as a competitor. I learned a lot from that event and it gave me plenty of confidence and self-belief. I am much more ready now."
In the ultra-competitive world of shooting, Sodhi has a clutch of top guns to contend with. The three World Cups this year, for instance, have produced three different winners - Peter Wilson of Britain, Mikhail Leybo of Russia and Richmond Joshua of the United States, with Wilson delivering a world record equalling performance. Any one of the top shooters could walk away with honours on a given day and that increases the pressure to perform, but that doesn't worry Sodhi, ranked 10 in the world now. "I don't see it as pressure. I was world number one last year and am a more experienced shooter now. I have done it earlier and have been competing with the same guys, and have beaten them before. I am confident that on a good day, I can do it again," he says and brushes aside concerns on his lack of victories this year.
"What happens is, three of the World Cups are bunched close together in March and April. For a shooter, it is important to have a break after a good performance - you need to take some time off before you can come up with a repeat performance. It is more mental and it is not like any other sport. Once you win, you need to take time off before you can get back again. So you shouldn't read too much into a shooter not coming up with back-to-back winning performances," he adds.
More than his rivals, London's unpredictable weather is a worry for the Indian."It's a fantastic range (Royal Artillery Barracks) but weather could be a worry," he says.
"During the World Cup (which was an Olympic test event) in April, it was very windy and it was raining. Hopefully, it will be better during the Olympics. I have been practising in bad weather here in Italy, preparing for any eventuality. At the end of the day, one should be ready for everything."
Links: Full news story
|Recent related news|
6 days ago
|Bestselling book, movie and now play, The Kite Runner has become an emblem of modern Afghanistan....|