PUNE: For any athlete, there is nothing bigger than getting an opportunity to participate in the Olympics. Manu Bhaker has earned herself three chances to win medals at this year’s Tokyo Games.
The teen sensation has been selected for 10m air pistol, 25m sports pistol and 10m air pistol mixed events.
While her selection in the 25m event over Chinki Yadav has become a talking point, Manu feels she has earned her place in three events through sheer hard work and there is no pressure on her to perform.
“I have been shooting in three events at the international level for the past three years. Why would be there any pressure on me,” she asked.
“I sort of knew that I will be selected for three events, but the confirmation from NRAI has only cleared the ambiguity, if any. I think it is a result of my performance in the past three years and I am thankful to the selection committee and NRAI president (Raninder Singh) for showing faith in me.
“Having said that, on the preparation front, it doesn’t change anything as I have always preparing for three events,” Manu, who has won five gold medals Saurav Chaudhary in 10m air pistol mixed event at the World Cup, told TOI.
Manu got the nod ahead of quota-winner Chinki. Without naming anyone, the Youth Olympics gold medallist said: “I have maintained the No. 1 position in 10m and 25m trials. I have been shooting better scores than anyone else. I had to make way for others at the Asian Championships and shoot in MQS so that others can get a chance to shoot for (Olympic) quota,” she said.
The World Cup Finals gold medallist has been putting in almost 12 hours every day to prepare for the Games. “I get up at 6 in the morning and reach the range at 8.30 am. I am home at 3.30 and have my physical sessions followed by my training with the psychologist and then I go to bed by 9.30 pm,” the Haryana girl said.
Manu said other than the physical work, athletes also invest mentally into the Games.
“The Games postponed for a year, but then that was for everybody. I have invested a lot of mental energy into the Olympics. However, a lot changes in a year, performance and personality wise.
“For me, it has been for good. I have grown as a person in the last one year and it is certainly helping me with my performance,” she said.
When asked about her current state of mind, she summed up: “I am nervously excited about going to the Olympics.”