New Delhi: Living with one of Indian shooting's most painful stories, Joydeep Karmakar is certain that his "phenomenally" talented protege, Mehuli Ghosh, has it in her to achieve what he could not by half a point: win an Olympic medal.
Shooting without the weight of expectations and with all the focus trained on the likes of Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang and Ronjan Sodhi, Karmakar was on course for a podium at the 2012 London Olympics before missing out by the smallest of margins to finish fourth.
Since that agonising English summer evening nearly seven years ago, Karmakar has come a long way, producing promising shooters. Mehuli, undoubtedly, is one of his most talented shooters.
"She is definitely up there technically, she has the results, scored quite high scores in training and competitions," Karmakar told PTI ahead of the season-opening World Cup in the capital.
"That was a totally different scenario," Karmakar, now 39, said, recalling his near-miss in London. He was asked what he thinks about Mehuli if she were to experience similar match situations.
"She will be facing innumerable difficulties, challenges, and near misses and situations like that. But you cannot define every kind of situation, cannot simulate every kind of situation, it is all about your thought process and philosophy which an athlete will go ahead with.
"She is being instilled with those kinds of thoughts which can be useful in moments of stress ... when you feel challenged, when you are going down, or even when you are doing well, how to protect it, how to preserve it and all," said Karmakar, India's lone World Cup silver medallist in a prone event.
When asked if he relates to his experience and performance in the biggest event of his career while training the likes of Mehuli at his academy in Kolkata, Karmakar was not very comfortable with the thought.
"Definitely, it adds to the drama, but I don't mix my performance with her performance. Of course the experience which I have from 29 years of my shooting career I am transferring it to her, and hopefully, she makes good use of it.
"She is a phenomenally good student, she never misses a single work which I tell her, she understands the idea and executes it perfectly."
A bronze medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a winner of a staggering eight medals at the 61st Shooting Nationals, 18-year-old Mehuli missed India's first-ever Youth Olympics gold after shooting a disappointing 9.1 in the final of 10m Air Rifle event in Buenos Aires last October.
A few months before that, she ended up winning a silver at CWG when she could have gone for the gold.
With a sensational 10.9 in the final shot, Ghosh forced a shoot-off against Singapore's Martina Lindsay Veloso. Seeing her name on the scoreboard, Ghosh thought she had won the gold and waved at the cameras, only to be told by the Indian coaching staff to return to her position for the shoot-off.
However, in an international tournament in the Netherlands, beginning the qualifying round with a disastrous 3.4, Mehuli showed character to make the finals and claim the gold medal.
After a run full of highs and very few lows, Mehuli said, "I am just working with my technique and consistency at the moment."
About her coach Karmakar, she said, "He is always motivating me, ensures that our training is not boring so that I don't get too tired easily, and recovery is also very important.
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Updated Date: Feb 21, 2019 18:33:49 IST