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Anjali eyes on Olympic double

Chennai: Hectic activity since last year, a few rewards and a new hope have propelled India’s top shooter Anjali Bhagwat to set her sights on Olympic gold medals in both air rifle and three positions.

Bhagwat has started working towards the self-set goals ever since she became the first Indian to earn an Olympic quota last year, the most productive in her career so far.

The year also saw her ranked top in the world in air rifle by the International Shooting Federation in June.

Anjali’s credentials to sport the Olympic medals are enormous. The 34-year-old CISF employee has acquired her berth for the Athens Olympics, along with compatriots Abhinav Bindra (air rifle) and Maj. R.S. Rathore, in trap events.

In the intensely competitive world of shooting, Anjali has expressed confidence of going for a double crown, not wanting to miss out on the opportunity in ‘three positions’.

“Pressure is a great thing. You can never have a top performance without any pressure and hard work. It is absolutely necessary. It has to be the right amount and too much is bad and too little is bad too,” Anjali said.

Moreover, a series of competitions including the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad last month and systematic training for about a fortnight with Stanislav Lapitaus, the world renowned Kazakh coach, at Mhow, have helped Anjali draw the right strategy for the Olympics.

“My confidence level has increased after my training sessions with Lapitaus. He is very systematic and his assessment of individual requirements of shooters has been excellent. He has coached Olympic gold medal winners of his country and presently coaching the Indian Army shooters,” Anjali said, adding that “he does not want any remuneration for coaching me”.

Lapitaus does not want her to change anything in air rifle though. “I had trained under him for air rifle three positions. I used to hold the trigger rather lightly and was not giving much thrust to my palm muscles. He has changed my grip and taught me to apply required pressure on my palm muscles and then shoot the target, besides butt placements on my shoulder,” she said.

“Certain things will look silly to some, but Lapitaus insists that I must eat raw onions after I drink water. He says I must eat raw onions even after I drink mineral water, since it (onion) is antiseptic. I found that there is some sense in it after I started doing it. He also improved upon my system of practising yoga. I used to practise yoga daily with his wife,” she said.

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