I think I perform better under pressure, says Olympic-bound shooter Rahi Sarnobat

Sarnobat is part of the 15-member Indian team that will depart for Zagreb, Croatia on May 11 for a training-cum-competition tour, from where it will fly directly into Tokyo for the Olympics.

Sarnobat (Centre) is part of the 15-member Indian team that will depart for Zagreb, Croatia on May 11 for a training-cum-competition tour, from where it will fly directly into Tokyo for the Olympics.   -  THE HINDU

As much as she sizzles in the international arena with her spell-binding mastery of rapid fire shooting with the sports pistol, Olympian and Asian Games gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat can be stunning with the depth of her thoughts and clarity of expression.

A voracious reader, who juggles four books at a time, the 30-year-old Rahi has meticulously taken notes over the years, of all her experiences, to be best prepared for any situation in the current world of uncertainty.

Having been trained by top coaches like Anatolii Piddubnyi and Munkhbayar Dorjsuren over the years, Rahi prefers to be in her "personal space" at the moment, in the last stretch of Olympic preparation in Croatia, especially in the absence of high performance coach Samaresh Jung.

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"We have to be prepared for all situations. On our own, we have to perform. I do discuss with professional psychologists. I get to know that I am on the right track. I know the mistakes, problems, and the pattern. I keep rating myself on my mental ability," revealed Rahi.

Having recovered from a bout of COVID-19 after the last World Cup in Delhi in March, when she won an individual silver behind compatriot Chinki Yadav, Rahi has made it a point to pack herself with adequate precaution.

"I am carrying a steamer. I am carrying spices. That is, Ayurvedic ingredients for preparing kadha. I am also carrying homemade haldi. I hope not to be infected again. So, I am carrying vitamins etc. Oh yes, I am also carrying an oximeter and infrared thermometer’’, said Rahi, during a media interaction organised by the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

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Rahi was categorical that pressure was important for peak performance.

"I want some pressure. I like the feeling of responsibility. More than the media or people, we have expectations from ourselves. It brings out the best in me. Am pretty sure, the expectations will be fulfilled. Expectations emerge from past performances. Our young team has been brilliant in the international circuit’’, she said.

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Quite happy with the ever-improving plan of the training camp in Croatia, Rahi said it was the best idea.

"The first plan was only a camp. Then the idea of competing in the European championship was made. And now we have a World Cup before the Olympics. Earlier, I had felt that there was not enough competition," said Rahi.

She keeps it simple about the final stretch.

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"As athletes, we should stick to our routine. We can’t take things for granted. We have to keep working hard, and spend time in a productive way, each day. It will help us crack these Games," Rahi said.

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