"Why would I feel intimidated?" - Sandeep Singh exudes self-confidence ahead of possible Paris 2024 Olympics selection

Sandeep Singh is in contention for a place in the India squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Sandeep Singh is in contention for a place in the India squad for the 2024 Paris Olympics. [PC:X/SportsgramIndia]

Sandeep Singh has expressed confidence in his abilities should he get picked to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics. He has shown great form in the first half of the Indian pistol/rifle shooting trials.

In the first two of four trials in New Delhi, Sandeep has done better than many more established shooters, including World No. 1 and former world champion Rudrankksh Patil.

The 28-year-old scored 634.4 and 632.6 in the qualification, which saw him finish on top in both rounds. This left him in a good position to find a place in the Indian squad for the upcoming Olympics.

Unlike many competing for a spot at the Summer Games, Sandeep never considered shooting as a career choice. He barely practised between 2021 and 2023 and has competed in just one international event to date.

The lack of experience, however, hasn't kept Sandeep's belief down. He is aware of his strengths and weaknesses but is confident of performing well should he get selected to take part in the quadrennial event.

“There’s a long way to go, but the confidence I have in my shooting at the moment is making me feel like, if I do make the Olympics, there is no reason I can’t go there and shoot the way I have been in these trials,” he said. (via Indian Express)

It is that self-belief that has seen Sandeep perform well at the shooting trails. Despite being pitted against former Olympians and world champions, he has remained unfazed.

“I’ve gone abroad for World Cups, trained and competed with some of the best in India and in the world, why would I (feel intimidated)?” he expressed.

Sandeep Singh: “What’s making a difference is working on the mental side of things”

Sandeep Singh grew up in Behbal Khurd village near Punjab’s Faridkot and decided to become a cross-country athlete as he thought it would help him in the army recruitment test.

While he did manage to join the army, in the Sikh Light Infantry in 2014, he initially put his athletic interests aside. Two years later, he was made to pick up the air rifle when he was stationed with the army in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.

Having fine-tuned his technique by practicing in the nights, he managed to improve in leaps and bounds once he started getting some exposure.

“As soon as I started moving out of AMU (Army Marksmanship Unit) for competitions and training, went to places like Bhopal and Delhi, my mind opened up and my shooting began to improve. The exposure improved me a lot, I was training and competing with shooters who have represented India, and doing just as well as them. I realised what I am capable of in those experiences,” he stated.

Despite making a good impression at the shooting trials in New Delhi, Sandeep is aware that he needs to improve the mental side of his game to get better.

“The changes I have tried to make to improve over the last few years are simple. My technique is still the same, I haven’t changed my rifle, the kit is the same, the routine is the same. What’s making a difference is working on the mental side of things, and I’m still working on that,” he added.

The Olympic shooting trials moved to Bhopal, after which the final squad for Paris will be decided.

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