Former Olympic shooter Anjali Bhagwat is confident that the Indian shooting contingent is capable of a rich medal haul without predicting the number medals the country stands to gain at the London Games.
“We have a dozen shooters in the fray and they have all performed consistently. Yes medals are possible. But let’s not predict the number of medals,” Bhagwat told MiD DAY yesterday. Despite Abhinav Bindra winning gold at Beijing, Bhagwat credited Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who won the silver medal in men’s double trap event at Athens for infusing confidence in Indian shooters to win individual medals at the Olympics.
Bhagwat participated in three Games – Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. She failed to qualify for the London Games since she didn’t hit the high notes at the Asian Shooting Championships in Doha last January.
The 10m air rifle and 50m Rifle Three-position shooter’s best chance of winning a medal came in 2004. “A podium finish at Athens was on my mind, but that day was not mine. I couldn’t qualify for the finals. I was very depressed and I almost thought that this was the last time I will be holding the rifle,” said the former World No 1.
The Arjuna award winner explained that after six months she couldn’t stop herself from making a comeback. “I was completely off shooting after Athens. But after a few months, I started missing going to the shooting range and my daily schedule. Six months later, I realised that I belong to the shooting world. I picked up my rifle and became national champion and life was back on track,” said the 42-year-old, who in her career spanning 15 years has won 31 gold medals, 23 silver and seven bronze.
In Beijing, she failed to make the finals after finishing 29th in the qualifying rounds. “I had worked really hard and stayed away from my family for almost four years. I knew it in my mind that qualifying for Beijing was a bonus. Unlike Athens, I wasn’t sincere for the China Games,” said Bhagwat. She said watching Beijing gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt finish the 100m in 9.69 secs remains one of her most memorable Olympic memories.
Middle-distance runner Sinimole misses Olympic qualification mark
India’s middle-distance runner Sinimole Paulose’s last effort to qualify for the London Olympics came crashing down after she finished second in the women’s 1500m at the Savo Games in Lapinlahti, Finland yesterday. On the last day of qualification for the London Games, Sinimole clocked 4:10.72s in Lapinlahti but it was not enough to book her place in the London Games as the Olympic ‘B’ standard qualification mark stood at 4:08.90s.
Assefa Meskerem of Ethopia (4:09.51s) topped the race ahead of Sinimole. — Agencies