“According to new rules, you need to shoot maybe 60-70 or even more shots in the final. In the older format, one had to shoot about 20 shots in the final. It’s not just demanding on a player’s physical ability, it’s very demanding mentally too,” pointed out Ronak Pandit, a former Commonwealth Games gold medal winning shooter.
Vaibhav Agashe, Rahi’s mental trainer at Lakshya, an NGO that is supporting the shooter, explained: “I have been working with Rahi for two years now. This achievement has come in the year after Olympics, which is important. Generally a lot of Indian shooters tend to lose focus after the Olympics.
But Rahi has identified that all World Cups are important, and winning medals at World Cups can actually give you that confidence to do well at the Olympics. So Rahi has worked on goal-setting, and the result is phenomenal.” Talking about Rahi’s strengths, Agashe said that her ability to visualise is the secret behind her success.
“Among the sportspersons I have worked with, Rahi has the best ability to visualise. When you are shooting rounds after rounds, it’s important to visualise how you are going to do it, and then actually doing it. Rahi has a fantastic natural ability to do that, and she has worked hard to maintain that. For me, that’s the secret behind her success,” Agashe said.
Another aspect on which Rahi worked a lot in the past six months is to be fitter, and on reducing her weight. “Shooting is not a sport where weight is a major criteria. But what is important is to have endurance level,” Agashe said. “We worked on her weight loss. But at the same time, we had to ensure that she doesn’t lose her stability, and her stance doesn’t change. So the weight loss was slow, as we targeted,” Rahi’s fitness trainer Darshan Wagh said.
“She has lost five-six kilos in the last few months. It helps increasing an athlete’s muscle endurance. Like in Rahi’s case, it was not easy to carry so much weight in one position. So she was changing her positions from time to time, was sitting on her knees, and was losing her stance in the process. Now, she can stay in one position for longer periods, and is able to maintain her stance a lot better,” Wagh added.