‘Excessive like none different,’ Suma Shirur remembers Athens 2004
‘My Olympic journey has given me some vital life classes, and I’m sure the Indian contingent will come house wiser from Tokyo. I prolong my heartfelt needs to every athlete, and my solely message to them is, do your finest,’ says Suma Shirur as she remembers her Olympics journey.
Suma Shirur is the high-performance coach of India’s junior rifle crew. She made it to the finals of the 10-metre air rifle occasion on the 2004 Olympics, the place she completed eighth. She spoke to Shantanu Srivastava about her Olympic experiences.
I’ve very clear and robust recollections of my 2004 Olympics. It began in February once I made a world document on the Asian Taking pictures Championships which was the final likelihood to qualify. Even earlier than that, my coaches used to inform me that we don’t need you to simply get an Olympics quota in some way. We wish you to earn a quota and go as a prime seed. I might obtain that with a gold medal and a world document rating of 400/400, and I actually stormed my manner into the Video games.
The build-up was one of the vital lovely, difficult, and enjoyable instances of my life. It began with procuring an digital goal. In these days we didn’t get digital targets that simply, and I used to be among the many first shooters in India to have an digital goal at house. There weren’t many sponsors again then, very restricted assist from the federal government, and we just about managed on our personal.
My husband was an enormous assist. The digital goal was fairly costly. We had been a younger couple, and I instructed my husband that I really feel like we’re spending all we have now on this goal. However he requested me to go all out in order that I don’t remorse something. As soon as we acquired our digital goal, the following query was the place to set it up. Our home didn’t have sufficient house, so my husband employed a store within the neighborhood that had a size of 10 metres and arrange a primary vary.
Each morning, I’d carry the shutter, enter the store, pull the shutter down, after which it was simply me and my rifle. I attempted simulating an Olympic surroundings in my head, and it actually made a distinction. So, I can say that a lot of my Olympics preparations occurred in a vacant rented store.
Nearer to the Olympics, I went to Austria with my then coach Laszlo Szucsak. It was an attractive expertise. The place was pretty, the vary was good, I feel it was among the finest taking pictures instances of my life. I used to be in the perfect type of my life. I don’t recall taking pictures a single 9. I used to be all the time taking pictures 10s. From Austria, we travelled throughout Europe for numerous small competitions as a part of my build-up for the Olympics.
I keep in mind a contest the place there have been only a few shooters however the high quality of competitors and the extent of taking pictures was prime notch. It was sponsored by Swarowski, and after I received the match, the Swarowski folks gave me all kinds of items to select from. That was good enjoyable.
On my off days, I’d go mountain climbing within the hills or stroll alongside the rivers, all on my own. I simply liked that have. The time that I spent with myself was therapeutic. Spending time with oneself is a really meditative course of and helps you loosen up, particularly forward of such an enormous occasion.
I used to be into a whole lot of visualisation, in truth, I’ve completed all of it my life. Thoughts is your largest power, and it is very important situation it proper. You are able to do the whole lot so long as you imagine it in your head. I did a whole lot of pranayam to maintain me calm and targeted.
After my Europe stint, I got here to India for every week, simply to the touch base with my people in Mumbai. I nonetheless keep in mind my drive to the airport – the anticipation, thrill, nervous vitality. On the airport, I noticed a college bus teeming with children. The Father of the varsity the place I had studied had taken particular permission from the airport authorities and introduced all these children to cheer me and need me luck on the departure. They did a small farewell ceremony contained in the airport too the place they sang a tune for me. That was actually candy, though a bit dramatic!
I lived in an condo with my husband outdoors the Video games Village as a result of I wished to steer clear of all that Olympics buzz. I keep in mind it rained a bit on the day of my competitors and as I walked from the condo to my vary, I appeared up and immediately acquired a sense that it’ll be a superb day.
I feel I dropped three out of my first 15 photographs in qualification, however I might end the match with a 100, and that gave me a spot within the finals. Anjali Bhagwat was additionally competing within the occasion however she, sadly, missed the ultimate. The onus was on me now to get a medal.
Fact be instructed, I used to be very comfortable simply to make it to the finals. Again then, making it to the finals was an enormous deal for Indians. Now once I look again, I really feel even perhaps my coaches didn’t put together me sufficient to deal with the strain. It was simply not regular for us to make it to an Olympics remaining. From that mindset to now, I feel India has come a great distance. We enter the vary believing we’re ok to face on prime of that podium.
Being at an Olympics is a excessive like none different. You’re feeling that you simply belong to a better athletic group. In our instances, as it’s there weren’t many sportspeople round. In your entire New Bombay space, I used to be the one shooter. When folks would come to know that I shot for a residing, they’d assume I’m making ready to affix the defence forces. I needed to inform those that it’s a sport and I’m making ready for the Olympics. They clearly thought I used to be loopy.
Lucky to have donned India Colors since 1997 (SAF Video games, Delhi) up untill 2016 (Asian AirGun C’ships, Tehran). Cherishing my India blazers as they convey again a whole lot of particular recollections! @OfficialNRAI @Media_SAI @IndiaSports @WeAreTeamIndia @KirenRijiju @ISSF_Shooting pic.twitter.com/FUeOq2heVy
— Suma Shirur OLY (@SumaShirur) April 2, 2020
We actually didn’t have a sports activities tradition or any sort of appreciation for sports activities. After I entered the Olympics village, I felt particular as a result of I assumed I used to be part of a better sporting group that’s non-existent at house.
Taking a look at how among the elite athletes taken care of their our bodies, the trouble they put in in coaching was really inspirational. The vitality and the vibration of an Olympics village can’t be replicated wherever.
Olympics can also be the time if you meet numerous athletes, from overseas in addition to from your individual nation. I keep in mind assembly Aparna Popat, Anju Bobby George, Leander Paes — all legends in their very own proper – on the Video games as a result of usually all of the sportspersons are of their respective camps and it’s not attainable to catch up. It was good attending to know them, how they put together and the way their sports activities operate.
Personally, I used to be not pleased with my efficiency within the remaining. I do know making it to the ultimate was an enormous deal again then, however I feel I might have received a medal. My taking pictures wasn’t unhealthy; simply that I used to be not getting massive 10s constantly. Plus, I used to be not ready to cope with the strain of an Olympics remaining. I used to be nearer to the medal than the scores or standings recommend.
After my match, I went to see a couple of different occasions – hockey and tennis – I recall. I left after a few days. On the Athens airport, as I sat on my own, I keep in mind all of a sudden breaking down. I don’t know what hit me. I might really feel the vacancy prefer it was throughout. It was a horrible sinking feeling. Additionally, the acute disappointment of lacking a medal.
I keep in mind watching Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore’s match with Abhinav Bindra. We had been simply sitting and sharing our respective heartbreaks after we noticed Rathore arising the ranks. As his match went on, we forgot our disappointments and immersed ourselves in his efficiency. When he received a silver, it clearly lifted the temper of your entire contingent. We understood the significance of his medal solely after we landed in India; we might see how a lot it meant to the folks.
With my expertise, I can say that when you’re within the remaining, everybody has an equal likelihood to win. All of it comes down as to if you and your coaches imagine in you.
As a coach, I hope for nice issues from my shooters. My aim is to carry out their finest, and if their finest is sweet sufficient for a gold medal, nothing prefer it.
All of the shooters within the crew know what they’re able to, and so they know they’re on the Olympics for a medal. Nobody is travelling as a passenger. Gone are the times when folks was comfortable being an Olympian; now we wish to win and make an impression. We by no means speak about ‘if’ we make it to the ultimate, we speak about ‘when’ we shoot within the finals or ‘the finals are at so and so time and so forth.’ This ensures shooters register these items at a unconscious degree.
My Olympic journey has given me some vital life classes, and I’m sure the Indian contingent will come house wiser from Tokyo. I prolong my heartfelt needs to every athlete, and my solely message to them is, do your finest.
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