Ace shooter Heena Sidhu today hit out at India’s chief pistol coach Pavel Smirnov, saying he is not competent and does not have any technical know-how of the game. “I know that the coach (Smirnov) has never been able to answer my questions. He doesn’t have the technical know-how. It’s not just me, even Jitu (Rai) said that to me,” Heena told PTI in an interaction here. “It was not just me and Jitu, most of the shooters find him technically weak. I don’t want to train under somebody like him. I did work with him for few a days because my Federation asked me, saying ‘just give him a chance and see if it works for you’. But it was sort of miserable, I don’t want to work with him. I don’t find him competent enough,” the 27- year-old shooter added. Heena works with her coach and husband Raunak Pandit. Heena and Jitu had clinched the gold medal for India in the mixed team 10m Air Pistol (demo) event at the Shooting World Cup in Gabala. The mixed team air pistol event is one of the new events added for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The win augured well for Heena and Jitu as this was their second World Cup gold together, having won the event in the New Delhi earlier this year. Heena said the gold, which she bagged in Gabala, was more “special” than the one the duo had bagged in Delhi. “This is sort of like, we were defending that first gold (bagged in New Delhi). In Delhi, we had a good start from beginning, but over here (in Gabala), we had to fight for the gold. This was a much better performance than the one in Delhi,” she said. Heena said she would focus more on the Asian Air Gun competition this year as it will be held near Tokyo, Japan, the venue of the 2020 Olympics.
“It (the tournament) will help me understand that country. Go there, see the venue and start having a mental image right from 2017 going into 2020 (Tokyo Olympics).” On her partnership with Jitu, Heena said, “In shooting there is not a lot of strategy, partnership of talking happening during the match or final. It’s more of what we do when we train together, but the good thing is that both of us are experienced and played so many matches. We have both been complementing each other. If one’s scores comes down, the other one chips in, the balance is very beautiful,” she said. Heena revealed that she had been working on her starts. “We wanted to work on the start, I have been having poor start since one-and-a-half year. In these two matches, my start was really good, in mixed doubles and individual.”