The fact that gold-winner Al-Rashidi, 60, hasn’t lost that spot since the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and Al-Attiya, 52, who won bronze, is also a two-time Asiad and Olympic medallist, could well have played on Naruka’s mind
NRAI High Performance Director Pierre Beauchamp at the Fuyan Yinhu Sports Centre in Hangzhou. Pic/Ashwin Ferro
Skeet shooter Anant Jeet Singh Naruka, 25, was holding on to the joint lead with Kuwait’s Abdullah Al-Rashidi and was chased by Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiya right up to the 43rd shot in the 60-shot final. Then the young Indian missed one shot and moments later, a second, to eventually win the silver medal.
The fact that gold-winner Al-Rashidi, 60, hasn’t lost that spot since the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and Al-Attiya, 52, who won bronze, is also a two-time Asiad and Olympic medallist, could well have played on Naruka’s mind.
Moments earlier, the Indian women’s team narrowly missed out on the podium, finishing fourth. Earlier in the day, India pistol champ Manu Bhaker also had a minor meltdown during her individual 25m final, finishing fifth.
Despite a scintillating performance by India’s shooters, who picked up seven medals in a day (two gold, three silver and two bronze), it is this handling of pressure in finals that NRAI’s High Performance Director Pierre Beauchamp wants to rectify. “We have been successful in almost every event we’ve competed in here, so congratulations to the coaches and kids. This shows that everyone is together as one team and we are going in the right direction,” Beauchamp, who has been with Indian shooting for a year now, told mid-day at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre on Wednesday.
The Canadian, who is a sports scientist and has had stints with the Canadian Olympic Association, International Olympic Committee, the PGA Tour, among other leading organisations, is a huge believer in data analytics. And he is spot-on in his assessment that the Indian shooting team could not just have earned more medals, but also improved the colour of some of them had they performed better in finals. “There are still a lot of medals we missed. We need to prepare athletes better to succeed in finals. We need them to be on the top step of that podium,” said Beauchamp, whose single-minded attention is the 2024 Paris Olympics.
‘Will analyse our strengths’
“The biggest takeaway for us from here, as we prepare for the Paris Olympics, is that we need to work on finals. Finals simulation is crucial. We will sit down as a group of coaches and will analyse our strengths and what we need to improve, moving forward to the Olympics. The emphasis on the finals aspect has a lot to do with the mental side and is a function that sports psychologists do with the coaches and athletes. It is also about placing the athletes in those final situations. Like, if you have just three shots left and you need a 10.8, can you shoot that? The good thing though is that we have depth in all disciplines and are now getting individual medals as well, along with team medals. And when individual medals start matching team medals, that’s key progress,” he concluded.