Coach Pandit ‘will intervene only when she feels the need’
Two-time Olympian Heena Sidhu, entered in women’s 10m Air Pistol by India for the Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia next month, will herself take on-the-spot decisions about the shooting part, once the event is on.
Husband-coach Ronak Pandit, an international shooter, explained the logic behind the change. “Competition involves taking 60 shots in 75 minutes. She will save four to five minutes by managing herself, instead of discussing with me three times.
“Those minutes can be used to rest. I have taken a step back and will intervene only when she feels she is in some trouble and not able to get out of it even after trying a few times. This approach helps in time management.”
Having driven from training base in Pune to Mumbai for the Edelweiss felicitation event for AG 2018 athletes, the couple is looking at the final camp in New Delhi to complete the preparation.
Shooting sport involves minute calculations, managing multiple factors within and beyond the participant’s control, before the latter lines up for shots at target. The personal coach and support team play their part.
In Heena’s case, micro-managing by Pandit will be toned down as a tactical decision. “The idea is to give her more space. The coach and her team just make a plan and let her execute it.”
The double Olympian (London 2012 and Rio 2016) clinched the 10m air pistol gold at last year’s Commonwealth Games at Brisbane.
The duo is looking to excel at the World Cups organised by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) where a quota place for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 is up for grabs. “We need to forget the CWG scores and look at performing in the World Cup events,” said the coach, pointing to the Munich World Cup in May 2018 as the competition to determine a shooter’s potential.
Heena managed a total score of 574 in 10m air pistol for the 17th place, 576 in 25m Air pistol for the 34th place at the Munich event, emerging as the highest Indian women pistol performer over 10metres and second-best (behind Rahi Sanrobat in 20th position) over the longer distance.
“The reference point towards build up for Asian Games will be the Munich World Cup, not just the score but also the rankings. Germany is considered the hub of world shooting and everyone participates, so you know where you stand.”
India will be sending a 28-member shooting squad for the Asian Games (16 men and 12 women), among whom, Heena is listed in 10m air pistol.
Competition for India will come from China, South Korea, Japan, Chinese Taipei, to name a few. Asian Games will be followed by the ISSF World Championships in September, where Heena, a former World No. 1, will take part in three events (10m air pistol and 25m air pistol and mixed team) against the world’s best..
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