Rahi Sarnobat conceals her competitive nature behind a ready smile, the mask comes off when the pistol shooter has a target in sight. “Don’t be fooled by her demeanour, it is very different from her attitude. She is strong-willed, very stubborn in her approach. If Rahi wants something, she will go for it,” said Viren Rasquinha, former India hockey midfielder, on one of the first four Indians to strike gold at the Asian Games 2018.
Rahi has interacted with Rasquinha from 2013 when Olympic Gold Quest started supporting the burly shooter from Kolhapur. The latter is CEO and oversees co-ordination with athletes on behalf of the organisation.
India won two wrestling gold medals (Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat), and two from shooting (Saurabh Chaudhary, Rahi) — all supported by OGQ.
“When you speak to them, you realise how tough they are. The common factor in all four is self-belief, that they can and will do it. They do not know fear,” said Rasquinha.
Vinesh and Rahi came back from career-threatening injuries while Saurabh is a first-timer at the Asian Games, taking part in men’s 10m air pistol at 16 years.
“There are stories behind every medal,” Rasquinha revealed.
“The success of three out of the four champions reveals the importance of having a strong technical coach.” (Saurabh trains with his local coach and while OGQ arranged foreign coaches for Bajrang, Vinesh, and Rahi).
“The investment in terms of money for these coaches is huge. Each of them also have a personal physiotherapist. Technical inputs and physical fitness went a long way in helping them reach this level.”
Rahi’s training is monitored by Munkbayer Dorjusen, German Olympic medal-winner and world champion.
Vinesh started working with OGQ at the start of 2018. “Three things she distinctly mentioned… coach, full-time physiotherapist, advice on diet and nutrition.
“She is in a weight sport and maintaining her weight category was the biggest challenge. The work with her was focussed,” said Rasqhinha.
“She went to Hungary in the lead-up to the Games and is coached by Woller Akos.”
Shako Bentinidis from Georgia is Bajrang’s coach, besides a physio and nutritionist. “Bajrang and Vinesh looked streets ahead of the competition at Jakarta,” said the OCG spokesperson.
“Saurabh trains with a local coach and our support is related to equipment, nutrition, and physio. The biggest challenge was equipment since his family is not financially sound,” said Rasquinha
Don’t be fooled by her demeanour, it is very different from her attitude
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