Shooter Pooja Ghatkar, who won the bronze medal in the women’s 10-metre air rifle at the ISSF World Cup, has credited London Olympic medalist Gagan Narang for her success. She has also said that the world cup win has somehow erased the memories of her disqualification from the Rio Games.
Former Asian champion Pooja shot 228.8 in the final to win her maiden World Cup medal. In the build-up to the tournament, Ghatkar was training in Pune with Narang to fine tune her game and she has credited Narang with making the difference
"My mentor Gagan (Narang) told me this is not the end of life and I have to go a long way. He guided me a lot. His guidance and pep talks helped me in improving my performances. I have learned how to handle pressure," Ghatkar said to News 18.
Ghatkar added, "He was watching my performance closely in the final. The moment I won the bronze, he came and congratulated me and said enjoy the success.”
Last year, she missed a berth in the Indian Olympic contingent by a whisker. But, Pooja feels that this victory has helped her to forget those bad memories.
She said, "This performance matters a lot to me. It will take a lot of time to sink in. Out of four World Cups last year, I missed out on reaching finals twice and finished fourth in the remaining two occasions. It feels bad when you reach so close and miss out on a medal. I didn't give up and continue doing hard work. I am really happy, satisfied and motivated after this win.”
"I shot 8.8 in the final shot of the deciding series in the Olympics (Rio Games 2016) qualifiers. That shot ended my Rio dreams. I was depressed for more than a week. I had missed out something big in my life. But thanks to my seniors and coaches who motivated me and helped me coming out of that terrible phase," Pooja added.
Asked about her plans for the year, Ghatkar said, "My aim is to improve my score. If I will manage to do it, things will be automatically on track".
"I will take one tournament at one time and will try to win as many medals for my country," she concluded.