Athletes tend to lose focus ahead of Olympics, says Heena Sidhu

PTI| Updated: Apr 09, 2014, 19:57 PM IST

New Delhi: The best phase of Heena Sidhu`s career may have "begun" but the recently-crowned world number one shooter says athletes tend to lose focus ahead of Olympic Games due to problems that are not necessarily related to sports.

The 24-year-old Heena recently attained the top spot in women`s 10-meter air pistol, her rise to the numero uno position hastened by two back-to-back medals -- a gold at the Asian Air Gun Championship in Kuwait, followed by a silver at the ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning, USA last month.

"I think maybe, maybe the best phase has started you can say," Heena told PTI, a day after arriving from the United States.

There was bitterness around her selection for the London Olympics two years ago and then there was the heartbreak of missing out on the finals.

"Olympics is always a learning experience. It`s not just about shooting, it`s more elaborate and a lot of preparation is required logistically. There is a lot of stress around it and due to these problems athletes tend to lose focus," she said.

"Now I know what needs to be done and I will try to be better prepared if I get to compete in Olympic Games again."

This is going to be one busy year for shooting with the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships all lined up around July-September. As many as 64 Olympic quota places will be up for grabs at the World Championships but for Heena, it is not just about medals and Games berths.

"I don`t have any materialistic goal as far as quota places or medals are concerned. My scores matter and I am only worried about my technique... What I can do when I am in the firing line.

"If I feel I have given my best I am happy. My aim is to just keep working on it for the rest of my life, keep polishing my shooting. It`s ongoing process all the time. I need to make sure that the technique I have learnt while practising, I am able to duplicate in competition."

Heena says she is not getting bogged down thinking about the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"I am not thinking about Rio (Olympics) at all. It`s just a journey towards being the best shooter," she said.

Talking about her training, she said, "It`s going on in the correct direction, I don`t want to make any changes right now. I have got a good coach and my husband (shooter Ronak Pandit) is helping me."

A qualified dentist, asked if she would like to practice it in future, Heena, who has been shooting since 2006, said, "After completing my studies my goal was to give few years to shooting. I will think about it."

Heena`s next major tournament is the ISSF World Cup in Munich in June. It was in the German city last year when she shot a world record score to win the gold medal, becoming the first Indian pistol shooter to win the top prize.

Following her exploits in Munich, she had featured on the cover page of ISSF`s magazine.