Ronak Pandit happy with shooting team's preparations for Tokyo Olympics

Indian pistol coach Ronak Pandit feels the shooters' performances at the European Championship have been encouraging and have shown that the team is heading in the right direction ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.


"I would like our shooters to be close to or higher than their personal best. The medal is not in our hands. It depends on the performance of others as well. Our job is to prepare the best," says pistol coach Ronak Pandit.   -  Special Arrangement

Ronak Pandit has been a top class shooter and has now shaped into a sharp coach.

"Heena Sidhu and Shahzar Rizvi set world records and achieved world No.1 rank, under my training," recalled pistol coach Ronak, with pride.

Isolated in his room as part of the protocol process in the hotel in Zagreb, Croatia -- where the Indian shooting team is currently based -- Ronak expressed happiness that the team was "in the best space."

After having Ved Prakash Pilaniya as the only pistol coach to accompany the team when it took a chartered flight to Europe on May 11, the Indian team will soon have five pistol coaches.

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"Our duty is to prepare the whole team. We are together and delegate work on a daily basis. I have been reading a lot for better communication. Everyone responds differently to instructions. Going into a high pressure game as the Olympics, we have to ensure that our communication is clear, concise, positive and without scope for interpretation," said Ronak.

Different coaches have different approach heading into the Olympics. "I would like our shooters to be close to or higher than their personal best. The medal is not in our hands. It depends on the performance of others as well. Our job is to prepare the best. The results of our shooters in the European Championship are encouraging. The team is in good space and heading in the right direction," he said.

Ronak lent clarity to the need of the hour. "Stay process oriented. Our entire team is high on skill, experience and motivation. The team has performed well in several matches at a high level. We have to stay focused on the process and keep building on it. The key is to keep working on making one a better athlete and a better human being on a daily basis, without worrying about what others do," he said.

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With dentist wife, Heena, a phenomenal shooter herself, expecting the couple’s first baby in a few months, it was hard for Ronak to detach from home and join the team promptly. "Taking time off was one of the toughest decisions of our lives. Heena’s best is yet to come. We decided in the summer of 2019, when Olympic qualification was still on, to step back rather than continue to work and complicate things further. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated matters a lot more. With the baby expected around November, we are extremely excited with this phase of our lives," said Ronak.

Having learnt a lot from coaches Tibor Gonczol, Antaolii Piddubnyi and sports scientist Dr. Pierre Beauchamp, Ronak has tons of knowledge, which he combines with his practical ability to still shoot "very competitive scores" with minimum training.

For Ronak, and wife Heena, the Olympic medal has been a lingering dream. "There is an aura around the Games. A medal at the Games validates your prowess as an athlete. The aura makes it tougher to perform at the Games. To find your way around all these challenges and to come up on top, on that given day across the whole wide world, is something every athlete lives for," he said.

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