Pune: Akhil Sheoran’s Gold in the Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions at the ISSF World Cup in Mexico ensured India would finish at the top of an ISSF World Cup stage or across any ISSF competition for the very first time. In an interview, Akhil Sheoran spoke about his achievement and future targets. Following are the excerpts
How does it feel to win a World Cup Medal and did you think you would win Gold?
Yes I was preparing for this medal and many more medals like this for a long time. I was disappointed to miss out on a Rio berth narrowly so this certainly takes care of that a little bit. Now that this has happened, it has shown me that I am working in the right direction and will continue to do so.
It was a quality finals field and tough conditions. Take us through the journey of the finals.
Actually I didn’t start that good. Then I told myself that I have to do my job, focus on shooting and forget about the medal. It will come if I perform well. And then I shot a good series and started coming up and once in my favorite standing position I was so sure that I now I’ll take this medal.
Your immediate next targets?
My next target is to perform better than this in next world cups and not repeat the same mistakes and become consistent. My next focus now is the World University Shooting in Malaysia.
Any incidents that you had to overcome and want to share.
I planned well to make sure there should be no incidents and my coach also reminded me today to check everything before, so that I am ready for anything that comes. My foreign coach Oleg was there to remind me of that.
How difficult were the conditions in the range today?
It was quite difficult as we saw the final range was too windy because it was open all around and from the back. So one hand, the wind was blowing from the back and pushing your body making it hard to stop my Rifle at the right place. So you have to wait till the wind stops and then release the shot. And then there was the pressure to win a medal. But my colleague Anjum Moudgil, who won Silver yesterday in the same conditions, shared some experience and that helped me.
How has the support system been to help you reach this far?
I would like to dedicate this medal to my parents who have told me endlessly to make this dream possible and who have gone beyond their means to provide for me. Then I would like to thank my coach (Deepali Deshpande) who believed in me even when I doubted myself and has made me what I am today. And Oleg for all the support. I would like to thank my sponsor OGQ who have stood by me always and special thanks to my federation who provides us such good facilities which helps us to win medals.
Any idols in the sport?
I started my shooting after I saw the celebration of Abhinav Bindra’s Olympic Gold medal so I wanted the same for me. I also wanted to make my country proud of me. This dedication came to heights (sic) when Gagan Narang won Bronze and whole country was celebrating and after that I got selected for my first international in December, 2012. These both our Indian shooting legends who have played an important role in motivating me.