37th National Games: Tomar says visualisation keeps him calm in tense situations
Tomar was the epitome of composure as he went for gold in the final of the 10m Air Rifle event at the National Games.
PANAJI: Having concentrated on the Men's 50m Rifle 3-Position in which he won the gold medal in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar was in a tough competition in the final of the 10m Air Rifle event in the 37th National Games in Goa.
He showed real maturity to overcome the competition and later claimed that visualisation of upcoming success keeps him calm in tense situations.
Tomar was the epitome of composure as he went for gold in the final of the 10m Air Rifle event at the National Games. With two shots left, the 23-year was 0.3 points behind Sandeep Singh of Services and needed something special to clinch the gold medal.
The shooter from Madhya Pradesh responded with shots of 10.6 and 10.4 to upstage the leader and bag his second gold of the National Games, having won the 50m Rifle 3-position event a few days ago.
“Considering the fact that I haven’t practised the 10m air rifle much in the past month (he was competing in the 50m rifle 3Ps event at the Asian Games), I am happy to win the gold medal.
"This adds to my gold in the 50m rifle 3Ps event, so I’m really happy to have both gold medals and improve on my silver and bronze (in 10m air rifle and 50m 3Ps respectively) medals from the last National Games,” he said after beating a strong field that included 2022 World Champion Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil.
With five of the eight shooters coming into the final with a qualifying score of over 630, there was little margin for error in the final. Tomar kept pace with leader Sandeep Singh throughout the 24 shots final and to his credit simply raised his level at the business end.
Talking about how he manages his nerves in such pressure situations, the 23-year-old shared, “I think I’ve reached a certain maturity and level of consistency in my game, so I never think too much about the score between rounds and have the confidence that I will be in the topmost spots towards the end when I’m in a state of flow."
“I actually visualise my success, like thinking about how I’m walking out and stepping atop the centre of the podium and winning a medal with the national anthem playing in the background. This process really keeps me calm and works for me to be successful, but I’ve worked for years to train my mind and build this mindset,” he added.
Tomar said he developed this technique of visualising his success from an early age as a kid when he used to dream about representing India at the Olympics. Interestingly, tennis star Novak Djokovic has also often credited the same method as being one of the reasons behind his success.
Next on Tomar’s agenda is to book his berth for the Paris Olympics by winning the upcoming trials.
Akhil Sheoran and Swapnil Kusale have already bagged the two available quotas for India in the 50m Rifle 3-position while Rudrankksh Patil and Arjun Babuta have done the same in the 10m Air Rifle category.
But since the quotas are allotted to the country and the National Rifle Association of India has a selection process to pick the best shooters ahead of the Games, Tomar is confident that he can keep up a good run of form and steadily remain at the top of the rankings to secure his place in next summer’s showpiece event.
“This event (National Games) is a big deal for all shooters as there are a lot of ranking points at stake here for your national rankings,” he said while underlining the contribution of his state to his success.
“Winning for my state (Madhya Pradesh) is an achievement that always makes me happy because everything that I’ve ever achieved in this sport has come thanks to the support that the government of Madhya Pradesh has given me since 2015.
“You see a lot of states reward their players after they win medals in big events, but the Madhya Pradesh government spends highly to prepare their players, and particularly shooters, to enable them to win medals at prestigious events,” he added.