World champion air rifle shooter Rudrankksh Patil will be aiming for "consistency" at the upcoming Asian Games and Asian Championships, which he feels will help him in achieving the bigger goal of winning gold at next year's Paris Olympics.
Rudrankksh, following his World Championship gold medal-winning performance in Cairo last year and his sublime form throughout the year, is a favourite to clinch the yellow metal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, but he said such big competitions "help us prepare and grow" as shooters for major events.
Asked if the Asian Games, commencing on Saturday and the Asian Championships in Changwon (South Korea) later this year, will be a stepping stone for winning the gold in Paris, the 19-year-old told PTI, "Our main focus is on the consistency of process, to keep ourselves maintained and to grow. Sometimes we find new methods to grow... I think all that (Asian Games) is helping (prepare for the Olympics)."
The Maharashtra shooter, who was not included in the contingent for the World Championships in Baku recently as the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) wanted to give another shooter a chance to earn a Paris Olympic quota, said he just focuses on his shooting without worrying who his competitor is.
Divyansh Panwar has also emerged as a leading air rifle shooter in the country and comparisons are bound to happen with Rudrankksh, much like when Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang emerged on the scene in the 2000s.
However, Rudrankksh said both he and Divyansh enjoy a great relationship.
"The competition is not in the country but outside the country. We (Divyansh and Rudrankksh) mainly focus on ourselves because this is an individual game, we don't have to make any strategies on defeating other players," he said.
"We just have to make our own strategies to keep ourselves grounded, humble and keep working on our basics. That is something which is very important in our sport. And when we start seeing each and every shooter as a competitor, that's the the start of our downfall," said Rudrankksh.
"I have known him (Divyansh) since 2019. He was always a part of the World Cup team... he has also gone to the Olympics (2020 Tokyo) and he has always been a good shooter. He has always been a mentor, also a great friend and now we are just shooters."
The champion shooter had a great opportunity to defend his World Championships title in Baku recently but he was not included in the contingent as the NRAI wanted to maximise the chances of other air rifle shooters to earn a second Paris Olympic quota after Rudrankksh had earned the first one in Cairo last year.
Asked if he was deprived of the opportunity, the youngster said, "I think it was a really good strategy from our association (NRAI) because we as the Indian shooting team has many good shooters. Not only the top-3, but top-10 are very good shooters and all of them are capable of winning World Championships gold.
"They (NRAI) wanted to send as many players as possible so that we could get more quota places. If I would have even won it (Worlds gold in Baku), I would not have brought one more quota for the country (as I have already got one)."
He said shooting sport has become much more than just aiming at the target and pulling the trigger.
"Before we hardly used to monitor many things, we just used to keep on shooting. But now, it's a lot about monitoring and have it (all jotted) in a book or a (computer) system. So, whenever, we have some problem we go refer to them (to iron out the flaws)."
Rudrankksh may have met and interacted with India's first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra several times, but he has a wish, and that is to meet and interact with champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra in Hangzhou.
"I want to talk and interact with Neeraj Chopra , really want to meet him and have a conversation with him."
Rudrankksh indicated that being a top sportsperson didn't mean he was a perfect human being, adding that being a teenager he too had his anxieties.
"Actually as teenagers, we have lots of thoughts (anxieties), on how it's going to be, how it's not going to be," he said.
"As teenagers, we have many emotions and thoughts coming together, sometimes its messed up (in the mind) but, luckily, because of the psychologists here, it's much more balanced. We even forget our goals sometimes, but we have been reminded about it by our support staff.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)