Manu is still “not 100 per cent sure” of clinching a medal at the Jakarta Asian Games next month.
New Delhi: Winning gold is fast becoming a habit for shooting sensation Manu Bhaker. The Haryana teenager became the youngest girl from the country to win gold at the World Cup in Mexico earlier this year before emerging on top at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The recent yellow medals she fetched came from the Pilsen Shooting Hopes Meet at the Czech Republic.
Despite maintaining such a successful graph this year, Manu is still “not 100 per cent sure” of clinching a medal at the Jakarta Asian Games next month.
“I know about the high hopes from me but I don’t know whether I will return with any medal or not from the Asian Games. My mantra is don’t think much about the results and how big is the tournament I am going for… I just take it as it comes and give it my best shot,” Manu told this newspaper on Monday.
The CWG champion is enjoying a four-day break after attending a 10-day camp in Bhopal and will rejoin the camp on Wednesday.
“I don’t take pressure... No doubt I aim for gold only but there is no guarantee. Right now, I am unwinding at home and gorging on home-cooked food. It has been a hectic month for me. I was sleeping just for six hours a day and my body needs rest to get ready for the big battle,” said Manu with a smile.
At the quadrennial event, Manu will lead India’s charge in three events — 10m air pistol, 25m sports pistol and mixed air pistol along with Abhishek Verma.
“I do not feel it will be exhausting participating in three events. I have self belief that I can excel in all three events. I have always had fruitful results in 25m and I think my coach will give more emphasis on this when I will return to the camp,” she said.
“The 10m event is also my favourite but I don’t fetch medals very often in it and the mixed event entirely depends upon your partner. Sometimes you have to pay for your partner’s errors and it is really frustrating.”
On her comparison to seasoned campaigner Heena Sidhu and the controversy over being chosen ahead of Sidhu in the 25m air pistol, the Jhajjar-born shooter said, “I don’t think of all these things… I am happy I got selected for three events.”
Manu was happy about her pairing with Verma and feels they can deliver a “gold medal performance” in Jakarta.
“Abhishek is a positive person and we make a good team. Generally I don’t get along with the girls in our team but most of the boys like Anish Bhanwala, they are my friends.”
The Haryana girl gave credit to her coach, former pistol ace Jaspal Rana for her performance and disciplined life. She runs, jogs and does exercise for flexibility while practices yoga and meditation for mental training.
“He is a very experienced and strict coach… very disciplined. He emphasises on physical fitness and that’s why most of the time the junior team are in India under his watchful eyes.”
‘We can return with better medal haul’
Asked about India’s chances at the Games, the 16-year-old said, “We have bright chances at the Games. We have two three new faces and they are very talented apart from the experienced lot. I think we can return with a better medal haul this time. China and Russia can can give good competition to us.”