Is it like a new beginning after the low in London?
The London Olympics was a bad dream for me. I don’t want to carry the “ghosts” of the past with me. I only know that I’m confident about my performance now than ever before.
How was it beating South Korea in the recurve World Cup stage IV in Poland?
The Koreans have always been the best team in the world. It was certainly not easy for us. A strong wind was blowing during the finals. But all of us (Rimil Biruly and Laishram Bombayala Devi) gave our best without feeling any kind of pressure. The Koreans found it hard to match our intensity and performance.
Would you attribute your success to the fact that you are being coached by a Korean now?
We were doing well even under the Indian coach (Limba Ram). But after Lim Chae Woong took over, we have improved in certain areas, especially the psychological aspect. And I must say Woong’s experience and pressure-handling tactics have helped us a great deal.
So can we expect your team to win a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics?
It’s too early to say that. Let’s just concentrate on our immediate goal winning the World Championships next month in France. Then, our next goal is the Asian Games in Incheon (2014) where all big teams like China and Korea will be present in full strength. It’s a long-term process. If we do well at the Asiad next year, our confidence levels will rise.
And then, we can aim for the big prize in 2016.
It was reported that your shoulder was troubling you before the Poland meet?
Yes, I had some fitness issues going into Stage IV.
Somehow, we all helped each other and got fit for the tournament.
Wasn’t a physiotherapist travelling with the team?
No. (dna can confirm that a senior archery official blamed the Sports Authority of India for not doing the needful. This despite the fact that the Archery Association of India had requested for a physio well in advance.) I don’t know the reason, but all three of us were massaging each other’s shoulders at the end of every practice session. Thankfully, the injury wasn’t too severe and we were able to give our best.
But this cannot go on for long. Can it?
No. I don’t know the reasons, but we certainly need a travelling physio. Archery is a very demanding sport, so to speak. And not having a physio with the team can cost us dear. Hopefully, this will be sorted out quickly. I don’t want to comment further on this issue. (It must be mentioned here that AAI is at loggerheads with the sports ministry and has been suspended for not abiding with the government’s sports code).
Have you made any changes to your technique after London 2012?
I learnt a lot from my London experience. Now, I know how to stay cool and composed in adverse conditions. In Poland, it was really difficult to score in windy conditions. But we did extremely well because we were better prepared mentally.
Staying calm is the key. And I’m mature enough now to maintain peace inside me (laughs).
Has the recent change in rules by world archery body FITA made any difference?
The rule change has been done to make it more interesting for the spectators. The rules have been amended in such a manner that on a given day, anybody is beatable. You can’t predict a winner.