‘To win the Olympic gold medal, I have been really working really hard for the past five years now, and it has always been my dream.’
IMAGE: India’s Manu Bhaker proudly displays her gold medal after winning the 10m Air Rifle women’s event at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, at Tecnopolis Park, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 9, 2018. Photograph: Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images
India’s ace pistol shooter Manu Bhaker has been “working really hard” for the past five years to win an Olympic gold medal at the Tokyo Games.
Bhaker, 19, recently decided to switch off from social media till the end of the upcoming mega event to focus on her preparation and performance at the Games, starting July 23.
“To win the Olympic gold medal, I have been really working really hard for the past five years now, and it has always been my dream,” said Bhaker, in a video posted by the Sports Ministry.
Rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra remains India’s lone individual gold medallist at the Olympics.
Winner of innumerable medals at international events, Bhaker thanked the government for helping her prepare for the Games in the best possible manner.
“The government has been very helpful throughout my shooting years. Whenever we needed any equipment or ammunition for training purpose, or pistols or anything, everything is being settled by the government,” the ISSF World Cup medallist said.
Bhaker is currently training in Croatia along with other members of the Olympics-bound Indian team.
The shooters will fly directly to Tokyo before the Games.
In the recently-concluded ISSF World Cup in Osijek, Croatia, Bhaker teamed up with Saurabh Chaudhary to win the 10 metres air pistol mixed team gold.
She, however, ended up seventh in the 25m pistol event, won by another Olympics-bound shooter, Rahi Sarnobat.
Bhaker won a silver in the 10m air pistol individual event in the New Delhi World Cup in March, and the 10m air pistol mixed team gold along with Chaudhary.
A gold medallist in the prestigious ISSF World Cup Finals, Youth Olympics and Commonwealth Games, the pistol shooter will enter the Tokyo Games as one of India’s biggest medal hopes, having won almost everything one can after a sensational start to her career.
Bhaker is selected for three events at the Olympics, scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8.
The Croatia tour was arranged after the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) realised that it was not possible to hold camps in India amid a deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.