New Delhi: India's pistol team's long-time foreign coach Pavel Smirnov believes that not one or two or three but all of his shooters are capable of winning medals, including gold, at the Tokyo Olympics. As Indian shooters have achieved great success in recent years, the upcoming Olympics will be highly expected from Indian shooters, especially the very talented young pistol shooters Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker.
Abhishek Verma and Yashaswini Singh Deswal are also medal contenders while the experienced Rahi Sarnobat provides strength to the team. Smirnov said, “Each of those shooters can make it to the podium and over the years I have watched Indian shooting. On their day they can win medals at the top level. Gold medal too. The Indian shooting team's failure to win a medal at the 2016 Rio Games was a shocking result, following which, on the recommendations of a review committee headed by Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, radical changes were made to the Indian shooting structure.
Smirnov, who coached Vijay Kumar when he won a silver medal in the 25m rapid fire pistol at the 2012 London Olympics, was subsequently appointed foreign coach of the national pistol team. Under his guidance, however, experienced shooters like Jitu Rai failed to win a medal in Rio five years ago. Smirnov, however, said it was time to look at the Tokyo Olympics. He said that I have high hopes from this team. They deserve to do well as they have made a lot of sacrifices, shown maturity at a young age and worked extremely hard in the last four years. There is no reason for us not to be able to achieve very good results in sports. This coach no longer blames the failure of Rio 2016.
There is no reason to scrape the past, he said. It is not in our control. We are in control of what we can do in future and that is what we are thinking at the moment. Compared to the previous games, this time due to the pandemic, the number of coaching staff for the Olympic Games has been cut. Along with foreign rifle coach Oleg Mikhailov, however, Smirnov will be with the team throughout the Games, while other coaches will be rotated under the International Olympic Committee's rule of maximum 30 percent of the coaching staff for the Games.
Smirnov was unable to travel with the national shooting team to Zagreb on May 11 due to a delay in visas, but is now training his players in the Croatian capital. The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 and the Indian shooting team will be represented by a record 15 shooters.
Hard work needed to get selected in Olympic team: Lilima Minz
BENGALURU: Veteran Indian women's hockey team midfielder Lilima Minz on Thursday said the team has healthy competition with a lot of young talent being exposed and they will have to do their best to make it to the second consecutive Olympic Games. Indian mid-row key player Lilima participated in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Then the Indian women's team qualified for these games after 36 years. Since then Lilima is a regular member of the team and has played 133 matches for India till now.
Lilima said that there are many young players in this national camp due to which healthy competition has been created in the team. There is a good competition to make it to the final team and if I want to secure a place in the team then I have to work hard and prove myself. The 27-year-old, who hails from Sundergarh in Odisha, said, "It inspires me to perform well because it is every athlete's dream to play in the Olympics and I know all our players are doing it."
Winning gold medal in Tokyo Paralympics will be special - Krishna Nagar
Top para badminton player Krishna Nagar is proud to have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and wants to make it memorable by winning a gold medal at the Games to be held from August 24 to September 5. Apart from Nagar (SH6), Pramod Bhagat (SL3) and Tarun Dhillon (SL4) have received official invitations from the World Badminton Federation (BWF) to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Para Games. SL3 refers to general weakness of the lower limbs, while SL4 refers to severe lower limb weakness. Sh6 is used to refer to short stature.
According to the Paralympic Committee of India, Nagar said that it is a proud moment for me that I will be a part of Paralympic Games when Para Badminton will debut in it. I will try to make it memorable by winning the gold medal. My only goal is to get first place.
All three players made it to the Tokyo Olympics based on their current BWF world rankings. Nagar said, "The Kovid-19 epidemic is increasing anxiety and crisis in the world, so I hope that medals in Tokyo 2020 will bring some happiness to our countrymen. It will also act as inspiration for future para players. Nagar, 21, from Rajasthan had won two gold medals at the Para Badminton International tournament in Dubai in April.