Rahi left personal setbacks behind to emerge gold winner
Mumbai, Aug 23 (PTI) Rahi Sarnobat overcame personal setbacks including her then coach's death and a manor injury to script history yesterday by becoming the first Indian woman shooter to clinch gold medal in the Asian Games.
Her personal coach Anatoli Piddubnyi died in 2015.
"Not only Rahi, but we all felt bad after he died, as he was with us for three years and had almost become a family member. After Anatoli's death, we did not think of appointing a new coach for four months," her father Jeevan Sarnobat told PTI.
"In the same period, Rahi had suffered an injury and was advised rest. She needed to stop practising. We kept supporting her," added her father.
"She was deeply upset by the coach's death. But she did not dwell on it and moved on. With her injury too, once she was told that rest was necessary, she did not keep worrying (about getting back to the sport)," he said.
The injury kept her out of action for more than a year.
The 27-year-old shooter pipped Thailand's Naphaswan Yangpaiboon in a heart-stopping contest in the Asian Games yesterday.
Her new coach is Mongolia-born Munkhbayar Dorjsuren, a two-time world champion and Olympic medallist from Germany.
Sarnobat describes Rahi as a quiet person.
"She is quiet by nature, so usually we don't give her any advice. When she is nervous, we discuss other things and not shooting, so that she is relaxed. We used to take her for outings (when she was going through a tough phase) and that's how we comforted her," Sarnobat said.
Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), co-founded by sports legends Prakash Padukone and Geet Sethi, is bearing most of the cost of Rahi's coaching.
Former international hockey player and CEO of OGQ Viren Rasquina said the not-for-profit organisation is supporting her from 2013.
"We have done two main things for Rahi. One was to help her get the (new) coach, Munkhbayar Dorjsuren. We are bearing a big portion of the budget for Rahi's coach," he said.
The other important thing OGQ did was appointment of a full-time physiotherapist who only works with her, considering that she had injuries for the last three-four years, he said.
Celebrations in her hometown Kolhapur will have to wait as Rahi is now headed to the Worlds in Changwon in South Korea, where she won her only World Cup gold back in 2013, and will return next month