After Bindra, another German hand produces a champion in Rahi Sarnobat
By Bharat Sharma
Palembang, Aug 22 (PTI) There is something about Germans and historic moments in Indian shooting.
It was a German, the legendary Gaby Buhlmann, at the helm when Abhinav Bindra became India's first and till now the only individual Olympic gold medallist back in 2008.
Ten years later, another German hand, Munkhbayar Dorjsuren, played a pivotal role as Rahi Sarnobat became the first Indian woman shooter to win a gold at the Asian Games today.
Rahi fell just short of saying that today's performance would not have been possible if it was not for Dorsjuren, former Olympic medallist, world champion.
Dorsjuren is originally a Mongolian who moved to Germany and claimed an Olympic bronze for the country back in 2008, the same year Bindra scripted history for Indian shooting.
"It is like a mother-daughter relationship. Her daughter is nearly my age. We have been together for almost a year," said Rahi, who rushed to hug Dorsjuren after winning a tense shoot-out in the final. The coach kissed her in return.
Dorsjuren has instilled a champion mindset in Rahi and it was on full display with the Pune-resident not giving up till the final shot.
"She has achieved a lot so her attitude towards competition and performance is really different and that matters a lot. More than the technical things, these things matter," said the 27-year-old who is a deputy collector in Maharashtra.
Rahi had not won a major medal since the Commonwealth Games gold in 2014. An elbow injury which she picked up even before Glasgow set her back for the next two years.
After taking a seven-month break in 2016, she had to try something different. In came Dorsjuren but she came at a huge price.
"I came to know that she retired after 25 years of her career. We had one trial training camp in July last year. After that I decided to hire her as personal coach. Of course she is expensive and I can't afford her with the salary I get.
"I have been getting support from OGQ but that is also not enough. So I have been using the cash awards I got after winning in Glasgow," said the soft-spoken shooter, who hopes to be in the central government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme after today.
Dorsjuren too acknowledged that Rahi needed to be mentally stronger.
"I had to change her technique and I also worked a lot on the mental aspect of her game. She was already a high-level shooter and needed some tweak in her game. It was a close final but I had prepared her for the shoot-off," the 49-year-old said.
Rahi was taken aback when she was told that she had become the first female from India to win a shooting gold at Asian Games. But this medal was extremely important for her, having also undergone a laparoscopic surgery earlier this year.
"This was important for me to open my mind. It has taken me to the time I was winning medals," said the Kolhapur-born who is now eyeing an Olympic quota place in the upcoming World Championships.
Rahi is an avid reader who never gets excited. Even what she did today did not excite her much.
"Shooting is life for me." What does she do in her free time? "Shooting only," she said with a hearty laugh. And when she is not shooting, she is reading.
"I have got four books kept in my room at the Games Village. I am currently reading S L Bhyrappa. He is a Kannada writer but I am reading the Marathi translated version. It is about human relations and philosophy. I have three days free so I am going to back to my room and finish it," said Rahi.
Next stop is the Worlds in Changwon in South Korea, the place where she won her only World Cup gold, back in 2013.
"I hope Changwon is lucky for me again," Rahi added