Maintaining focus is key, says Manu Bhaker

Excerpts 

You and Saurabh have contrasting approaches in many manners, but with the shooting. Despite the difference, you both manage to hit the bull’s eye. What’s the mantra behind these achievements?

There’s no Mantra as such but we focus more on our scoring. And we try to make every shot better than the last one.

What is the driving force behind your success in shooting?

I sometimes think I was made solely for this purpose - i.e. shooting and try to bring as many laurels to the country. It’s the love towards the sport I feel is the driving force.

You joined Virender Sehwag’s academy in Jhajjar, what went wrong and why did you not continue?

Yes. I was there for three years. Nothing went wrong. It was an awesome atmosphere to grow in. The thing was, I was playing all the time there, basketball to lawn tennis to table tennis to athletics to cricket to swimming to football, and so on.

Then it was my IX standard, and it was time to focus on studies. I and my brother decided to switch to school for studies. Despite all these disciplines, I think destiny has been shooting.

What was the turning point? I can understand after a swollen eye during a volleyball warm-up before routine boxing. But that injury had nothing to do with boxing, why did you leave?

I always wanted to try new things. Yes, that injury had nothing to do with boxing but I had injuries every second day and that was more on the face that concerned my mother. And they made us do the same thing every day. I couldn’t bear that after two years.

Thang-Ta, a popular martial art. Has that helped you in any way?

7I was always interested in physically fighting sports. I used to train with boys there and because of that my physical fitness and muscle strength was very good. I always used to compete with boys and tried to do better than them. This made me work harder.

You superseded Heena Sindhu’s record of scoring 242.3 as against Sindhu’s 240.8. Your feeling after the feat.

There’s no doubt that she is one of the finest shooters ever. But I never had idols. I always did everything for my interest and just focused on my game instead of watching other players.

What is that which does not go well with you when one asks you about being on the podium?

It is just I can’t say anything about winning medals. I hope you remember what happened in Munich World Cup this year in 25m air rifle. And this world cup as well, in the finals, our competitors (India team 2) were leading the finals with a huge margin but we won in the end. So no commitments. Anything can happen.

What is that which keeps you busy other than shooting? Your hobbies…  

I enjoy reading, listening to music and watching cricket but now that I am in college, it’s time to focus on studies. 

Your next target....

The upcoming competition. The Asian championship.

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