Manu Bhaker: Asian Games performance a morale-booster

The 16-year-old shooter, who won two medals in the recently concluded Youth Olympics, says her performance in the 25m pistol qualifying at Palembang was an “inspiration.”

Manu Bhaker... “When I need inspiration, that performance (in the Asian Games) serves as a morale-booster.”   -  PTI

According to Manu Bhaker, her Asian Games performance in Palembang was a morale-booster that helped her perform well in the Youth Olympics. The 16-year-old shooter returned empty handed from Games earlier this year, but her performance in the 25m pistol (qualifying), she points out, was her “best performance till date.”

At the recently concluded Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Bhaker won gold and silver medals in the 10m air pistol individual and mixed categories.

At an Indian Olympic Association felicitation function for Youth Olympic medallists, Bhaker told PTI: “I would say Asian Games served as a huge morale-booster. I shot 593 in 25m pistol event (qualifying) which I believe is my best performance till date. A score like 593 doesn’t happen everyday. I don’t think I ever shot better than that qualifying round. Yes, I missed out on a medal but that 593 is like a benchmark for me. When I need inspiration, that performance serves as a morale-booster.”

‘Fantastic’

Bhaker rates her Youth Olympic medal as one of the major highs of her career. “It feels fantastic to win gold for India. To see the tricolour flying itself is a matter of pride. Each and every competition has helped me evolve as a shooter,” she said.

Read: Shooter Saurabh donates Youth Olympics gold-clinching pistol to IOC museum

“This is my debut year in international events and I am only gaining experience. But I still want to remain a kid,” she added.

Bhaker said she shares a great rapport with other young shooters like Saurabh Chaudhary. “I share a good rapport with everyone. They are all co-operative, well behaved. There is never any pressure,” she said.

‘Great competitor’

She sidestepped queries on a potential rivalry with Heena Sidhu. She said, “Heena di is a great competitor. But I need to focus on my game.”

Bhaker announced the next event in her itinerary. “Next competition is Asian Airgun Championship but if it doesn’t happen I will be taking part in the Senior Nationals,” she said.

There will be a camp in Delhi and Bhaker will be focussing on physical endurance. “We will be staying at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium and I will also be focussing on gym work apart from regular practice,” she revealed.