It gives me great pride to look back at my golden moments in the Asian Games. I am happy to have won four gold medals there. More than that, I am happy to have been able to do that from 1994 in Hiroshima to 2006 in Doha.
It is all history now. I don’t generally look back, as I am focused on living in the present. I am very happy to guide some talented juniors like Anish Bhanwala and Manu Bhaker. It is easy for me because I know how I was guided by my coach, the late Tibor Gonczol.
I could peak at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games because of the strong foundation given by my coach. We had no distraction in those days like the mobile phone. Even the landline telephone was a luxury. It was a blessing that we had no facilities, no big rewards and no distractions. We only knew hard work.
We had to be at our best during a three-four month period as the Commonwealth Games, World Championship and the Asian Games fell in that period. It was not easy, but we managed. I had won the World Championship gold as a junior before I won the Asian Games gold in centre fire pistol as a 17-year-old in 1994. The jubilation back home was unbelievable.
We did not have this sort of big financial rewards in those days, which is actually spoiling some shooters now and stops them from doing the hard work.
We have done very well in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, but the Asian Games is a different cup of tea. Teams come prepared for it, and the competition is world class.
When shooters are finding it hard to come back for their second Asian Games despite being very good, I am proud to have competed in four Asian Games and four Commonwealth Games. I am equally happy to have competed in a different era.
It gives me more satisfaction now to guide the young talented shooters, more than winning those gold medals in the Asian Games.
Hope we have more gold in shooting this time in Indonesia.
As told to Kamesh Srinivasan
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