first_imgAs a dentistry student in Punjab, Heena Sidhu would have learnt a lot about pain management. On Sunday, the diminutive shooter had to handle her own pain as she narrowly missed making the 10m air pistol final at the Royal Artillery ranges.It was a sight to watch as Heena battled tons of pressure in her maiden Olympic appearance. On a cold morning, Heena, wearing a light pink jacket, struggled to find rhythm.There was nothing bigger than this arena for the young girl who had made it to the London Olympics after a lot of bitterness. All that seemed to be weighing on her mind as she took a long time to shoot her first card and managed just a score of 93 in her overall score of 382/400.In practice and trials, under the guidance of coach-cum-fiancee Ronak Pandit, Heena shoots much better. However, after she had taken too much time for her first card, Heena couldn’t try too much to up her tempo.In a sport like shooting, controlling nerves is so important. The harder you focus on the target, you heart rate would tend to jump.After scores of 97 and 95 in the second and third series, Heena looked good in the last card.. All of a sudden the scoreboard showed Heena fourth in the preliminary phase, with five shots to go. It meant she would have made the final.It was a good situation to be in, when you looked at it from the stands. But Heena was struggling and to borrow a chess term, she was under time pressure to complete the last five shots.advertisementIt saw the Indian shoot five straight 9s and lose the opportunity. Had it been 10s instead of the 9s, Heena would have been in the final.Heena walked out of her shooting lane very disappointed and hugged mental trainer Pierra from Canada. The warm hug may have comforted her a bit only.Soon, the shooter opened her heart out. “It was nothing else but pressure for me,” said Heena.Her selection itself for the Olympic was under the scanner as the shooter had not got a quota place. When the National Rifle Association of India surrendered a rifle quota and exchanged it for Heena, there was a cry that RVS Rathore be given the slot. However, as rifle and pistol are as different as cheese and chalk when compared with shotgun, Rathore was left out.There was added pressure from the sports ministry as it did not give Heena proper funding. “I know I was not considered good enough to be funded. It did put a lot of pressure on me and I still trained hard. I am not a defeatist and I will take back lessons from this match today,” Heena told Mail Today.Coach Anatoly Piddubnyi did not want to say much but admitted pressure had got to Heena. “It was difficult for her but she will learn from this,” he said. “She could have been in the running for a medal if she was a final,” added Anatoly.The other Indian shooter in fray, Annu Raj Singh managed a poor score of 378/400.Gold was won by Geuo Wenjun of China as she scored 488.1. “This is one of the heaviest medals I have won and I am excited,” said Wenjun.On Monday, the high profile men’s air rifle will be held where Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang will fight it out against Chinese star Zhu Qinan and Italy’s Nicco Campriani.Campriani has been in hot form this year and Qinan will be gunning for revenge after losing gold to Bindra in Beijing 2008.last_img

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