CWG 2018: People don't realize that I'm a beginner, says gold medallist Heena Sidhu
After winning the 25m pistol gold with a new CWG record, Heena Sidhu, whose pet event is the 10m air pistol, says she's still learning the ropes in this one
Heena Sidhu celebrates with her husband and coach Ronak Pandit after winning the gold medal in the 25m air pistol event at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane yesterday. Pic: AP/PTI
After two years, Heena Sidhu's efforts finally bore fruit as the Mumbai shooter clinched gold in the women's 25m pistol event, breaking the Commonwealth Games record en route yesterday.
At the Belmont Shooting Centre in Brisbane, Sidhu, 28, helped the Indian shooting contingent pick up its third gold medal of this CWG as she shot a final score of 38, two of them being perfect fives, to claim top honours, ahead of Australia's Elena Galiabovitch.
This was Heena Sidhu's second medal at the 21st CWG after clinching silver in her pet event, the 10m air pistol event, behind compatriot Manu Bhaker, 16. Sidhu, however, wasn't surprised that her first major medal in the 25m pistol event took two years. "I started shooting 10 metres in 2006 and my first major medal was in 2009. I started shooting 25 metres in 2016, so my rise in this event has been faster. The problem is that people don't realise that I am a beginner in this event. It will take time to master it," Sidhu told mid-day over the phone from Down Under, hours after winning gold.
Elena was the fastest off the blocks in the final with Sidhu trailing the Australian till the fifth series. Sidhu did well to close the gap, scoring off all five shots in the fifth series before another perfect score in the sixth saw her take the joint lead. She took the sole lead after the first shot in the seventh series and subsequently increased the gap. With a two-point lead at the end of the seventh series, Sidhu found the target in four of the five shots in the eighth to be ahead by three points.
Although the Australian managed to close the gap by one point in the ninth series, Heena held her nerve in the 10th and final series to emerge champion. Sidhu explained that her training regime differs for the 10m and 25m events: "I train for two-and-a-half hours for the 10m, and one-and-a-half hour for the 25m event. Nearly 60 per cent of my training time is dedicated to 10m and the rest to 25m.
"My main focus is on the rapid-fire stage as that is crucial for the finals." When asked if there is more pressure on her now with youngsters like Manu and Mehuli Ghosh in the mix, Sidhu replied: "I am unaware of their shooting as seniors and juniors are in separate camps. But I know they are doing very well and if they can keep their focus, the sky is the limit. Rest it's not right on my part to comment... I am sure their coaches have planned for them."
With inputs from agencies
Gagan, Chain falter
Gold Coast: Indian shooters Chain Singh and Gagan Narang failed to ensure any medals in the men's 50m Rifle Prone event at the 21st Commonwealth Games here yesterday. Chain finished fourth with a score of 204.8 points in the final round. Gagan was second from bottom in the eight-man final with 142.3.
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