The Sports Ministry has approved shooters Manu Bhaker and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa's proposal to hire the services of Singapore-based sports psychologist Sanjana Kiran for better preparation ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. (More Sports News)
The Tokyo Games are scheduled to be held in July-August this year and the proposal was sanctioned last week at the Mission Olympic Cell meeting as part of the government's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
Sanjana Kiran is a high performance expert in the field of sport psychology and performance psychology and has provided support to elite athletes and elite coaches in preparation for major events and international competitions.
Manu, who is eligible to participate in both the women's 10m air pistol and women's 25m pistol at the Olympics, said, "Being in a sport that requires vigorous mental strength and stability to be able to perform flawlessly, getting Sanjana Kiran's guidance will help me to prepare better for the Olympics."
Olympian and medallist at the Asian and Commonwealth Games Suma Shirur, who is currently the High Performance Specialist coach of the Indian junior rifle shooting team, welcomed the decision to have a psychologist working with shooters.
"Sport is getting more professional. If we have to put our best foot forward, why not engage experts. In our time, we learnt through experience but nowadays shooters begin early so experts will expedite their learning curve," she said.
Shirur added that given that most of the Olympic-bound shooters are teenagers or in their early 20s and have gone through a long period out of competitive action due to the coronavirus pandemic, having a psychologist helping them is even more important.
Sanjana Kiran's engagements with Manu and Angad include online sessions, travelling to competitions to offer her inputs and the travel expenses involved while going for competitions.
The total cost of Kiran's engagement with the two shooters, starting from January 2021, is approximately Rs. 29 lakh.
Prior to sanctioning this amount to the two shooters, TOPS had sanctioned Rs. 68.39 lakh for Angad who has qualified for the Olympics in men's skeet on international training, ammunition and out of pocket allowance.
For Manu, TOPS had sanctioned Rs. 21.49 lakh for ammunition, equipment and out of pocket allowance.