Indian trap is looking up all over again, thanks to the presence of Olympic champion Russell Mark and his wife Lauryn, providing the best path of progress for the shooters.
Already Bhowneesh Mendiratta has won the Olympic quota for Paris Games, and Prithviraj Tondaiman came good after years of toil, in bagging the bronze medal in the recent World Cup in Doha.
There may be shortcomings in terms of financial support or availability of ammunition for even the best in the country, but there is no dearth of motivation and guidance.
“I think everything is falling in place now with the new coaching staff and the new system in place. The atmosphere is more comfortable and that gives us more confidence”, said Prithviraj, understandably proud of his effort in Qatar.
“I felt confident of winning. This is the first time the coach walked up to me and said, listen mate, you are shooting well, your technique is perfect, I am confident you will win. Russell Mark is a legend, and has done a world of good to my confidence”, said Prithviraj.
“I enjoyed the competition in qualification. There was no pressure”, said Prithviraj who shot 122 out 125.
“The final was a different ball game. I felt immense pressure. Russel had made us do the finals drill many times at the camp. I was prepared. I enjoyed shooting under pressure and the entire team was in the stands, rooting for me”, he recalled.
Prithviraj also extended the credit to Lauryn and Vikram Chopra for the revival.
“Russell is exceptional with his technical knowledge and brings out the best in me. He trusts my technique and only pushes me to get better. Lauryn holds the team together. She makes sure the team gets what we need. She in discussion with Russell and Vikram makes training plans for us. Everything has become very systematic and easy. Vikram has been great. He has brought a very positive outlook to the team. He stands for each and everyone of us when needed and makes sure everything is in place”, explained Prithviraj.
The focus will be to get the second Olympic quota in trap.
“We want to win the quota in the World Championship in Baku. We also want to be in the top rankings to have the world ranking quota as the back up. My world rank has gone up to No.8, and my focus would be a place in top-5. Winning a medal in Baku and the Asian Games are the immediate targets”, said Prithviraj.
The 35-year-old Prithviraj has won a gold and three silver medals in the team championships in World Cups in the last two years, but the individual medal is indeed very special.