Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra was forthright in saying that he was not sure about making the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games, but asserted that he would do his best given the chance to help the host retain its supremacy in shooting.
Bindra had shot a 593 in the World Championship in Munich, and thus had failed to defend the crown that he had won in 2006 in Zagreb.
“I had climbed a big mountain in 2008. To go up again, I had to come down. It is a bit painful, but the good thing is that I can rise again. I am motivated and training hard,'' said Bindra, who had reached the Olympic final in 2004 in Athens, as well.
He reasoned that his poor performance in the trials for the world championship in Pune when he shot a 590, had shaken his confidence. He did shoot a 594 in the second trials and also the same score in the World Cup later, but opined that he was not tuned well for the world championship despite trying his best.
“If you look at it, I shot 397 on the first 40 shots in the world championship. It was the same at that stage in the Beijing Olympics.
“In the next 20, I had two 98s. Three of those were 9.9 and the other was 9.8. I was a trifle unlucky, but that is the sport,'' he reasoned.
With three bonus points to be added to Bindra's average for selection, it will be tough for anyone to push him out of the No. 2 spot in air rifle behind Gagan Narang.
“If someone shoots great and gets into the team, good luck to him. I will be happy to cheer from the stands. It is easier that way,'' he remarked in good humour.
Rather than being focused about showing his class, particularly in the light of the fact that he does not have an individual gold from the Commonwealth Games, despite having started in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 as a 15-year-old, Bindra emphasised that he was looking at himself as a team player, fighting for the team's cause, starting with the pair's event.
Bindra said that India would continue to win a lot of medals, but warned that a few of them will be achieved only after a hard fight, as the region had strengthened its shooting prowess in the last few years.
“Singapore has been doing well even in the world championship. Bangladesh will be good. Australia and Britain have good shooters, particularly in shotgun.
“We walked away with the medals in the last two editions. We have to earn it the hard way this time. Moreover, there are a lot of expectations, and in shooting, it is not going to be easy living up to it,'' he said.
Bindra will know only on September 1, whether he has made the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games, but he would keep training as usual. In fact, he will visit the Dr. Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad on Wednesday, to check out the facilities, and start training in right earnest.