Bellary (Karnataka), Feb 17 (IANS) A billion expectations will be on Manu Bhaker’s mind when she takes part in her maiden Olympics later this year. But for the teen shooting star, the hopes of people is a way of showing their support which can only fuel her to go for glory at Tokyo 2020.
“What I think is expectation is like people supporting me. Nobody expects (from) you till they support you,” Bhaker told IANS at the end of a High Performance training camp for elite shooters at the Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS).
Since bursting onto the scene in 2017 when she won silver at the Asian Airgun Championship 10m air pistol youth event in Wako City, Japan, there has been no looking back for the shooter who will turn 18 on Tuesday.
A Commonwealth and Youth Olympic Games champion in 2018, Bhaker won as many as five ISSF World Cup gold medals and a further two more yellow metals at the Asian Shooting Championships in 2019, picking up an Olympic quota in the shooting World Cup in Munich along the way.
“I will try my best as I am genuinely working really hard. Rest is not in my hands,” said Bhaker who is also good at 25m pistol events besides 10m air pistol where she is one of the best in the world.
The pair of Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary swept virtually every gold on offer in the mixed team mixed 10m air pistol events at world shooting competitions last year.
Asked if she is ready to potentially compete in three events at the Olympics, she said: “I love my sport. Whether it be one, two or even three events. I am not really sure about this whether I will be competing in one, two or three events.
“The federation (NRAI) has to decide it and the results will be deciding it. I will try to do my best for my country in whatever opportunities I will get.”
Bhaker further said her preparation is on track and there is nothing to change at this stage, also adding that she loves Japan and is looking forward to going there.
“My practise is going really good and I don’t think I need to change anything,” said Bhaker.
“When I went to Japan (December 2017), the weather was different. But I love the country. It is one of my favourite countries. Everything is so disciplined,” she added.
At the training camp in IIS, the shooters benefited from listening to the various experts that the JSW arranged during their stay. Bhaker said she loved the environment at the campus that houses budding athletes from across five Olympic disciplines — wrestling, boxing, judo, athletics and swimming.
“The environment to develop mental and physical skills are really good. The best part about this place is it’s isolated and just for athletes,” she concluded.