High expectations may put shooters under pressure

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Beijing, Aug 8 (UNI) The Indian star parade will be out tomorrow as the ace Indian shooters will start their campaign to get the elusive Olympic medals for the country.

The first medal at the Beijing Olympic Games will be decided on tomorrow morning at the shooting ranges situated 45 kms away from the city.

The Chinese are favourites to bag the first gold but for India Anjali Bhagwat and Avneet Kaur Sidhu spearhead the campaign in air rifle, in a star studded field.

Anjali had a light training session this morning and the chief national coach Sunny Thomas said the shooters have trained really hard and nothing has been left to chance, though he was unhappy that double trap marksman Ronjan Sodhi failed to make it to the games.

Before coming to Beijing, the Indian rifle shooters had a week-long camp in Malaysia and they feel the camp has helped them a lot.

Like any other sports which includes shooting, a lot depends on the day's performance. The indoor range is a spectacular one and shooters cannot complain about the lighting or the whole design of it.

''I think in Athens I was under a lot of pressure and I made sure that this time I planned my campaign in a systematic manner,'' Anjali told UNI.

The other shooter Avneet, has been consistent in her form, though, she is making her debut in the Olympics, she is showing no signs of pressure despite the fact that she will be facing a very formidable field.

Also will be seen in action on the opening day of the competition, world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and seasoned campaigner Mansher Singh. Both will compete in trap where they will shoot the first 75 birds.

Both shooters have trained hard under coach Marcello Dradi in Italy and do not find the heat and humidity here as detrimental factors.

''I have been shooting at ranges all over the world and since I came to Beijing almost 10 days back, I have been able to put in good practice. I am not coming in with great results behind me, but I know I have adapted well to the demands of this range,'' Manavjit said.

This morning, Manavjit shot three series in the official practice session with an average score of 23. ''I have made some adjustments to my shooting style as the birds tend to fly out low here. Physically and mentally I feel in great shape,'' said, the reigning trap world champion.

Mansher, has 25 years of experience behind him but the flash clay targets being used here is something which he is not used to and is worrying him.

''I think the line judges have to be very careful when they see if a bird has been killed or not,'' Mansher said.

UNI HSB RAR DS1425

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