India's new shooting sensation Vijay Kumar, who clinched a silver medal in the Olympic Games here, said he had mentally prepared himself for winning a medal and was elated to have achieved his main objective.
"I had mentally prepared myself for this moment. Being in the Army has made me mentally tough and used this to my advantage. Whatever I had planned, I have achieved," Vijay said at the post event media interaction today.
"I have won several medals in international events, but an Olympic medal is always special," he said.
"This medal means such a lot to me. It has been my dream to win an Olympic medal. It is the highest peak you can achieve. I have a lot of medals on the wall but an Olympic one was missing until now," he said.
Vijay said he managed to keep himself composed by treating the Olympics like any other international competition and that ensured that he did not get overawed by the occasion.
"I have been in other competitions where the scoring has been normal like this but this was the Olympic Games. I had to ensure that I retained my composure right through," he said.
"You can never blank out the fact that you are competing in the Olympic Games but I managed to remain focussed. I knew I had to keep control over my nervous system. This was my first Olympics, I knew I had to keep my focus and concentrate and I did that."
Asked whether a few good scores in the qualifications was the key for his win, Vijay Kumar said "In rapid fire, it does not depend on a few series. You cannot be perfect, some mistakes will creep in. It happens to the other shooters also," he said.
When queried what was he saying to himself in the tense final, Vijay said in a lighter vein,"Well that is a secret. I dont want others to know what I talk to myself."
"My first aim was to try and come in the first six in the qualifications. I was not thinking too far ahead. Just wanted to go step by step. We all know that the competitions dont end till the last shot," he said.
On what would be his next target, "The target is to go back home!," he said in jest. "I have been away from home for a long time, so I am really looking forward to returning home."
Joydeep Karmakar, who also put up a stellar show in the men's 50 m rifle prone, said he was happy to have put in a good performance.
"I am not happy with fourth or losing a medal or things like that. But I am happy with my performance. I had to fight my way up to fourth." "This is definitely not my best performance. I could have done better. It was really tough. This is my first Olympic Games and I was shooting alongside shooters with so much more experience," he pointed out.
On his future plans, he said,"The Asian Games are definitely on my mind. I may start shooting in men's 50m rifle three positions. I have been asked to take up air rifle, too. This has been a great learning experience for me to compete in Rio," he said.
About shoot-off during the qualification, he said "It was really scary, there." On him being awarded a quota place earned by another shooter, he said,"A lot of people doubted my abilities, but I am happy that I could deliver. I was here not to prove, but to deliver."
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