Heena: ‘World Cups are ‘important checkpoints’ on way to Olympics’

The former world number one is hoping to test her skills and score consistently in the build-up to the World Championships in September, which will also be the first quota event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Heena Sidhu will be competing in three events — 10m air pistol, 25m sport pistol and mixed team event (10 meters) in the German city.   -  PTI

The ISSF World Cups are “important checkpoints” on the way to the Olympic Games, said India’s pistol ace Heena Sidhu, who is geared up to compete in 2018’s final World Cup for rifle and pistol shooters, starting here on Thursday.

The former world number one is hoping to test her skills and score consistently in the build-up to the World Championships in September, which will also be the first quota event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The World Cup in Munich is extremely important to figure where I stand before going into the first Olympic qualifiers, which will start from the World Championship in September,” Heena said on tournament eve.

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“We have experience of two Olympic cycles and we are using it to improve our preparations. The CWG, these World Cups are very important checkpoints on our way to the Olympics. These competitions will show the true effects of our training and based on my results we can amend our preparations.”

The Commonwealth Games and the World Cup Final gold medallist will be competing in three events — 10m air pistol, 25m sport pistol and mixed team event (10 meters) in the German city.

The field includes Serbia’s Zorana Arunovic, Ukraine’s Olena Kostevych, Greece’s Anna Korakaki, France’s Celine Goberville and those from China, Korea and Germany besides countrymates Manu Bhaker (10 meters) and Rahi Sarnobat (25m).

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Heena said that she has worked on physical conditioning and body stability during a two-week training camp in Germany. “I and my team have been working hard in improving all aspects of my game, keeping the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in mind,” said the 28-year-old Heena.

“We are focusing on physical conditioning and body stability. There is some good balancing equipment here, so we are making use of it,” said coach Ronak Pandit on Heena’s preparations.

“And technically, we are working more on match readiness and on our refocus strategies because there can always be a silly mistake by you in a match or someone else doing something that disturbs you, but you need to recover quickly. So, we are working on our refocus strategies and bounce back ratios.”

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Heena will begin her campaign with the 25m sport pistol event qualification precision event on Thursday. The qualification rapid fire stage will be held on Friday, with the finals slated on the same day.

On Sunday, she will be in action in the 10m air pistol, followed by next Monday’s mixed team category event. “I am in sound technical physical and mental state, and my equipment is in top notch condition as well. I love competing in Munich and look forward to the competition,” Heena said.