Rahi Sarnobat (Twitter Photo)
NEW DELHI: Gearing up for her second Olympics, seasoned Indian shooter Rahi Sarnobat says she enjoys being under the pump during competitions as it gets the best out of her.
Sarnobat is part of the 15-member Indian team that will depart for Zagreb, Croatia on May 11 for a training-cum-competition tour, from where it will fly directly into Tokyo for the Olympics.
“I think I perform much better under pressure. I like that feeling of responsibility, expectation,” Sarnobat, a World Cup and Asian Games gold medallist, said on Saturday during a virtual interaction organised by Sports Authority of India.
The first Indian woman shooter to win an Asiad gold, she added, “I really enjoy being under pressure as that is how I can bring the best out of me. We also have some expectations from ourselves.”
Past performance is something the 25m pistol shooter doesn’t pay too much attention to.
Since the departure of her German coach Munkhbayar Dorjsuren last year, Sarnobat has been working with High Performance coach Samaresh Jung, but the champion former shooter will not be accompanying her to Croatia, where the team will take part in the European Championships in Osijek (May 20 to June 6) and ISSF World Cup (June 22 to July 3).
But that’s not a cause for concern for Sarnobat.
“I was working with my German coach but her contract ended before the original date of the Olympics but, then it got postponed. Then I started speaking to Samaresh bhaiya.
“But at this point of time, I want to be alone. I am in a very different space. I have been in touch with him.
“Even if he is not going to be there, this is a really different situation. We have to be prepared for all the situations, we have to be there on our own and we have to perform,” she said.
She has been reading a lot, especially books on sports psychology and specifically shooting, and she plans to travel with a few books to cut down on her screen time. Reading has helped.
“I do take help from few psychologists but, as such, I don’t really work with anyone. I feel that I am on the right track, and they say the same thing confirming my feeling.”
Sarnobat and her teammates will be away from their families for more than three months, but the shooter feels the recent scheduling of the World Cup in Croatia will at least ensure that they are not stuck in the same city with training.
While the Indian team will have its camp in Zagreb, the shooters will travel to Osijek for the tournaments before coming back to their base, ensuring they will be “moving over there”.
“We will be out for three months. But the plan is getting better as I see it. Before the World Cup was scheduled in Croatia, I suggested to my federation that let’s try to change locations… but now we have the world cup, so it’s okay.
“We are going to be moving from Zagreb to Osijek, so changing locations is better for us. It’s better to move than be in one place for months.
“This is going to be a good camp. I was looking for competition as there was no big competition in the past one year (except ISSF World Cup in Delhi).
“The World Cup in Croatia is going to play a very crucial role.”
Thanks to their excellent run in recent years, expectations will be high from Indian shooters in the Olympics.
“Expectations come from past performances and I give credit to our younger ones because expectations are there because of their brilliant performance. I am sure these expectations are going to be fulfilled in a few months. They are ready to handle all these.”
Besides books, in a world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarnobat said she will have additional things, such as steamer, spices for making khada, ayurvedic tea bags, homemade turmeric, immunity boosters, some Vitamin C and Vitamin B capsules, oximeter and thermometer in her bag.
“If not me, my teammates might need these, who knows,” said the shooter who has recovered from COVID-19 after contracting the virus in March.
She was infected with the virus immediately after the Delhi World Cup.
“After my competitions I started getting symptoms, but I think Covid was kind to me. My oxygen was never below 95 but weakness was really bad, it took me 15 days to get going again. Two weeks and I was absolutely back on track, doing my exercise sessions.”
Sarnobat said she will take her vaccine shots in Croatia either in the last week of May or in the beginning of June, and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will arrange for it.