August 14 may become a memorable day in the annals of Indian shooting when Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat takes aim to grab a historic medal in the women's 10m air rifle at the Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre in Athens.
"I am very happy with my performances. Specially my consistency in scores. Everything is going as per plan. Pre-Olympics was a little bad in terms of medals but I have no worries as the scores were good," Anjali said at the national team's training camp in Bangalore.
"I plan to peak at the World Cup in Milan (June 14-21) and then inter-club competitions in Kuala Lumpur or Spain," said Anjali, whose pet event -- the 10m air rifle -- is slated as the first event in shooting at the Athens Olympics.
The Indian ace is also confident of her chances in rifle three position in which she won bronze in the recent Sydney World Cup.
"I was able to improve upon my performance in the three position event since December, thanks to the guidance of (Kazakh) coach Stanislov Lapitaus. I won my first medal at the World Cup in Sydney. It has enhanced my confidence level," the 34-year-old CISF inspector said.
"I have started working towards my goals since earning the Olympic berth. I got my barrel changed on the advise of Lapitaus, who is attached to the Army shooters training centre in Mhow and also got it tested in an ammunition factory. But few technical points like how to shoot in windy conditions in Athens are yet to be learnt," she said.
Looking back at her progress Anjali said "My aim in Sydney was to improve on three position. Before the event, I had only three sessions of practice of air rifle, but still my score was good."
Defending her shifting focus to three position, Anjali said her preparations for air rifle did not suffer.
"It did not suffer only because of my three position event. It was not the right time to peak (in 10m air rifle). If you return a high score, then it becomes difficult to maintain it for a year. So, instead of facing that tension, it is better to score at your average level and peak just before the Olympics to gain confidence," she explained.
On the possibility of a golden double as she would also be competing in the rifle three position, Anjali said: "You cannot predict anything in shooting, particularly in three position since many factors have to be taken into consideration on that day. But I am confident for the other event (10m air rifle). I have worked hard and proved my standard in World Cups, where a bit of luck also counts as winners are separated by fractions".
But if Anjali is concerned about anything before D-Day, it is the uncertain weather conditions in Athens.
"Indian shooters are not used to performing in windy conditions and the weather also is important. The Athens range is very windy and we are not used to such ranges. Also, we do not have options for ammunition according to the prevailing weather conditions like one for humid conditions or another lot for rain. Even if you have an advantage of five or six points it matters a lot," she said.