The shotgun shooters have two more World Cups in June to tune themselves for the Olympics in Rio, but Mairaj Ahmad Khan has opted to train in Italy with coach Ennio Falco rather than compete in the San Marino World Cup starting in two days. “Skipping San Marino is my coach’s decision,” said the 40-year-old Mairaj from his training base in Italy, which incidentally is Falco’s range, the Atlanta Olympics gold medallist.

READ: >Two more World Cups to fine tune before Rio

“Need time to train properly. Can’t go without preparation,” said Mairaj, as he hinted about preparing strong for the Rio Olympics, simulating similar conditions, in his event, skeet. “We just got new machines today. From tomorrow, we will be training on new machines. Laporte Rio edition, two machines for skeet,” said Mairaj, who had shot brilliantly in the last World Cup in Rio and missed the gold in the shoot-off to Marcus Svensson of Sweden.

“The background in San Marino is totally different than Rio. Baku is similar background, sky line I mean,” said Mairaj, distinguishing the salient aspects of the next two World Cups, even as he emphasised that the training and other related aspects had been planned quite in advance.

“We will have same flash targets in training which would be used in Rio,” he said. Interestingly, coach Falco, who has also won five silver and three bronze medals in World Championships, and whole lot of other international medals, apart from having competed in the last five Olympics since Atlanta, has been focusing solely on the preparation of Mairaj.

“After the San Marino World Cup, we have a training camp together with the team before Baku,” revealed Mairaj. There is a lot of physical training, with yoga and gym work, combined with swimming three days a week. He trains with a few others and shoots on a variety of ranges with different machines and backgrounds at Capua, near Naples.

It has been more than two months since he visited his home, but Mairaj is categorical that he can’t afford to miss home! “Passion for the sport is bigger than missing home. I have given my life to this, so can’t leave it loose,” he said, as he reiterated the emphasis on his shooting and training, to be at his best in the Olympics.

“There are many apps nowadays to stay connected with home,” Mairaj pointed out. The numerous mobile apps may be a distraction for most, but for those focused on their task they provide the connection!