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Anjali high on confidence

Source: PTI
June 10, 2004 16:11 IST
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Having devoted much of last year to experimentation, India's ace shooter Anjali Bhagwat feels she is well prepared for the Athens Olympics and confident of winning a medal. She says she has "gained consistency", and is looking to peak in time for the Games, beginning on August 13.

"In 2002, I focused on winning medals so that winning becomes normal and I don't get over excited by winning a medal. In 2003, I experimented a lot. I changed the rifle, the models, the position, and I ended the year with a World Cup gold in Milan. This year I have been focusing on performance," Anjali said in Delhi on Thursday.

"Most importantly, I have gained consistency in my scores ... and now that I am getting good scores also, my confidence is up," said Anjali, in Delhi to take part in the Olympic Torch relay.

Anjali, who admitted she could not handle the pressure of shooting in an Olympic final at the last Games in Sydney, said she is more confident this time around.

"I can't predict whether I will win a medal or not but I am confident," she said.

The 34-year-old Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna winner, who will take part in the ISSF World Cup from June 14-21 in Milan, where she had won a gold last year, said she will not focus only on results.

"It is not ideal to focus on the results at the start of the year because after that you are always under tension to maintain that score," she said.

Anjali was all praise for the training camp in Bangalore and said the other national shooters had given her a good competition.

"The 20-day camp at Bangalore has been really useful. The standard of national shooters has gone up now, so I had good exposure," Anjali said.

Pointing out that although Asian Championships witness higher level of competition than the Olympics, she said a gold medal in either event would make her equally proud.

"The Olympics has this hype surrounding the event whereas in the recent Asian Championships the level of competition was higher," the former world number one air rifle shooter said.

She said she faced tougher competition in the continental event because it featured more number of Asians, who were among the world's top shooters.

"In the Olympics I will be competing against two Koreans and two Chinese. But in the Asian Championships, I will be up against six of them," said Anjali, who won four golds at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002.

But Anjali evaded a question on whether she valued a gold won in a professional event higher than the Olympic yellow metal. "I would cherish both of them," she said.

Indian shooters are also scheduled to hold a special training camp in either Spain or Bulgaria as the final tune-up before the Olympics.

Anjali, who had shot at the Olympic ranges during a pre-Olympic event, said the venue of training needed to be similar to that of Athens.

"The Olympic ranges are situated on a hill, and it is very windy. The winds there are always swirling, and it is very difficult to shoot in such conditions.

"And particularly one of our events, the 50m one, is an outdoor event.

"In India we do not have the electronic devices to judge the wind conditions, how many clicks to press for the trigger and so on."

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