Shooter Arjun's focus on mental stability ahead of Paris 'duty'

Currently training in Austria, the pistol shooter stresses on the importance of psychological aspect of the sport ahead of Paris Olympics.
Pistol shooter Arjun Singh Cheema
Pistol shooter Arjun Singh CheemaPhoto | NRAI

CHENNAI: Indian shooting has garnered considerable interest over the years. However, the Olympics has been a riddle in the last two editions of the mega event with the shooters flattering to deceive.

Twenty-one shooters (all-time high for the country), who'll be travelling for the upcoming Paris edition, will be aiming to end that jinx. One among them is pistol shooter Arjun Singh Cheema, who's currently training in Austria.

The 23-year-old from Punjab is part of the all-important squad after acing a series of trials (which was the main criteria of the selection policy). Having come this far, Arjun, who was formerly into swimming, is intent on making the most of this opportunity.

"The training I have had a little while back, the coaching and guidance I have had, was quite consistent. It was quite technical then. Post selection trials, I'm looking to be more precise. As we were drawing closer and closer to the Games, we were getting to learn from the most-recent competition. Finding out whatever drawbacks we have, keeping those things in mind, and moving forward," Arjun said in a media interaction, which was facilitated by the Sports Authority of India, Indian Olympic Association and National Rifle Association of India.

His most-recent lesson was the Munich World Cup, where he had narrowly missed out on a chance to fight for medals after finishing 10th in the qualification stage of the men's 10m air pistol event. As per competition rule, the top-eight are eligible to compete for the final and Arjun had missed out on a top-eight finish by 1 point.

"The Olympic trials and the Munich World Cup we had, I felt that I had certain drawbacks (technical and psychological aspects) and I need to work on that. I have been discussing it with the team and the coaches. Things are under process," the young gun, who's supported by Olympic Gold Quest, noted.

Mental aspect of the sport is a major talking point nowadays. Arjun stressed the value of mental stability.

"It's well-known that shooting is a mental game and the result is really important but at the same time, an athlete's mental stability, psychology matters a lot so that we can produce even better results. And I feel that we don't have much pressure but it's our duty to give our best," the shooter, who's grateful to get the much-needed support from everyone, said.

For a first-timer (Olympics), mental stability, aside from the technical skills, certainly takes precedence. One can sense that he's learning to make his young mind work in his favour.

"This is my first Olympics but I'm not looking at it from that perspective. I have mentally prepared myself for the matches and if I look at it with a different perspective, things are going to turn in my favour," the 2024 Asian Championships silver medallist assessed.

Apart from the men's 10m air pistol event, Arjun will also be part of the mixed team event, alongside Rhythm Sangwan, during the Olympics.

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