July 13, 2020
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'The Govt Can Do Much More'

India's main medal prospect in shooting at the Athens Olympics on the lack of sponsors and a coach

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'The Govt Can Do Much More'

Unlike her rivals from Russia and China, she neither has a sponsor nor a specialist coach but India's main medal hope Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat is preparing in right earnest to hit the bull's eye in the 10m air rifle event at the Athens Olympics next year.

Anjali, the only Indian shooter to have secured a berth in the Olympics so far, is concentrating on the ISSF World Cups preceding the Games to fine-tune her technique.

"I would like to experiment different things at these ISSF events under the pressure of competition," Anjali said emphasising that she will not bother about adding to her collection of one gold and three silver medals in World Cups.

The CISF inspector, who clinched a quota place to Athens by winning a silver medal at the World Cup in USA last year, is not one to sit back and rue at the odds, but facts do present a grim picture.

"For almost two years till the ammunition arrived early this year, we did not get even a single round to train. We were forced to have dry practice.

"Abroad you can buy everything over the counter and in countries like Germany, the national team is their national property. The shooters do not have to bother about anything other than their performance," said Anjali who is training in the Capital along with other members of the national squad which will compete in the ISSF World Cup in Zagreb, Croatia, from June 2 to 9.

Anjali is convinced that the Government can do more to help the sport like finding sponsors. "The government tries to help but still more can be done. If the government approaches the private sector they will come forward to sponsor," she said.

Though she was ranked No.1 in the world during last July-August, Anjali is yet to capture the corporate sector's attention unlike a few of the chess players in the country.

"The Hinduja Foundation sponsored me during the Sydney Olympics and Mahindras came forward during the World Cup in Atlanta last year," said Anjali, currently ranked sixth in the world.

But more than sponsors, it is the absence of a specialist coach that Anjali is more concerned about.

"We had a very good coach, Laszlo Zucsak from Hungary during 1999-2000 and because of whom the team did very well. But after the last Olympics, India did not renew his contract and Japan quickly netted him as their coach.

"It's because of him I could achieve this much. But after Zucsak no one was appointed and we do not have a specialist coach till now," she said.

Stressing that she does not need a coach at this juncture, as it may be difficult to adjust to a new training regime before the Olympics, Anjali said she gets in touch with Zucsak whenever in trouble.

"But for the B-level team it is very important to have a specialist who can help in the technical aspects," she said.


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