One of Indian shooting’s most known faces Heena Sidhu will be easy into her groove in the coming year with no Olympics for her to look at. Heena has not qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, which will be held next year from July 23-August 8 after getting postponed by a year due to coronavirus pandemic. With the pressure of Olympics not on her head, Heena is not pushing herself just yet, that process is a few months away.
"I don't have the 2021 Olympics to look at since I didn't qualify so I can take it easy and get into the groove slowly. I am not concerned about the World Cup matches or the Nationals or any other tournament. So I would be focussing on the next Olympics, or the World Championships or the Commonwealth and Asian Games," Heena told News18.com in a telephonic conversation.
For Heena, the break has been longer than others. She was on a break for two to three months even before the lockdown and now, when she is coming out of it, she doesn't want to push herself to top gear right away. Heena, who is currently in Pune, has now been training for the past two months after the range nearby opened. About two months ago, the range opened its 25m division and a month back, the 10m division was opened as well.
"It's been difficult (getting back into the groove). A long break like this means the muscle memory is also gone, you're not fit, you've not really shot.
"Initially you go to the range and try to do however much you can, not push yourself too hard, enjoy the process and slowly, you build on your basics, doing the right techniques, sharpening your skills. Then, you start preparing for your matches. So, for me there is a long time before I start preparing for matches so I am still in a place where I am enjoying the process and listening to my body," Heena explained.
Even though Heena has time on her hands, she felt the "lockdown effects are going to be lasting" for other shooters.
"The thing is that the Covid-break came at a time when the Olympics was supposed to happen. Usually, the Olympic cycle will get over and then another one will begin so mentally also it's different. The preparation to start another Olympic cycle is very different. You are working on your basics, preparing for the next Olympics. By the time Olympics in 2021 gets over, within a year the qualification for the next one will begin.
"With the Olympics in 2021, it feels like the shooters are not going to get a break that they usually would after the Olympics. We will almost immediately have trials and all for the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Usually, after the Olympics, you can take a 5-6 months break and then start the cycle for the next Olympics but that's won't be the case this time," she said.
Heena said the Covid-forced break came at a very wrong time - "when everyone was trying to peak for the Olympics". She felt to begin that entire process again with the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are coming close, "it's tough".
Heena stated, "2021 will not see a regular Olympics". She said the protocols are not known so far, whether the athletes will have to be vaccinated, what will be the procedure to go, everything is up in the air.