Treating Olympics as another shooting event: Sodhi
India's ace double-trap shooter is so confident of his ability that he wants to treat the London Olympics as just another competition, and he feels that will take pressure off him.
Sodhi says he is well aware that an Olympic medal will make him part of the country's folklore, but that does not mean he is desperate to win.
Medal or no medal, he will be happy if he performs his best at the Olympics, says the 43-year-old sharpshooter.
Sodhi has been remarkably consistent and he is the first Indian to have defended a World title.
"I don't want to give the Olympics too much of importance so that I stay focused. The competition is the same and the competitors are all those who have been participating in various international tournaments with me. We know one another very well, so it is nothing new or anything I don't know about," Sodhi told IANS.
"Frankly, there is no pressure on me. People here expect me to perform and they believe I can. That is not a pressure, it has actually made me realise my responsibility and I believe I can do well in London."
"If I win a medal, it will be great. Even if I don't, I will still be happy as long as I give my best shot. I know if I do my best, I will get a medal," said Sodhi matter-of-factly.
The two times world champion said he was ready for the Olympics and "today I am mentally more mature than I was four years ago when I failed to make the cut for Beijing."
His record speaks for his confidence. He is an exceptional shooter. He won two World Cups, gold in the 2010 Asian Games, though he had to be satisfied with silver at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games.
"I was just short of the world record before 2008. Unfortunately, I couldn't qualify for Beijing, missing out on a quota place. In the last five years, I have done consistently well and I am happy with my preparation for London."
"I wasn't mentally ready for Beijing, but this time I am ready and I am mentally much tougher now. I have learnt a lot in the past three years, both from my victories and defeats," says Sodhi.
The Arjuna Award winner thinks highly of India's chances in shooting. He said all shooters who had made the cut for London had done extremely well in the run-up to the Games.
"Every Indian shooter going to the Olympics has done well and has won a big competition on the way. I think there are five to six strong medal contenders," Sodhi signed off.