London: Seasoned trap shooter Manavjit Sandhu does not agree with the view that a marksman competes with himself and says for him, keeping track of his rivals is as important as his performance.
"In theory, the view that a shooter competes with himself may be correct but in practice it is not. I don't know how this myth has come about. A shooter is always keen to know what his rival is doing. To tell you the truth, every shooter wants to know the score of other shooter," Sandhu said.
"To be honest, I am always keen to know how my rival is doing. Knowing the score of your opponent keeps you on your toes. In 2010 Asian Games, in the team event, it was really tense as we were neck and neck with Kuwait and Lebanon. I was keenly observing how our rivals were doing so when I came last, I knew what I had to score and it helped enormously," he said.
Sandhu is featuring in his third Olympics in a row and he says he is better prepared this time.
"In Athens and Beijing my form was tentative but here I am better prepared and at the moment in good nick. I have trained very hard in Italy before coming here," he said.
Asked about the role of coach, Sandhu said, "Well, coach does make a difference but at the end it is the shooter who has to perform and at the time of competition, coach becomes a part of the support staff."
Sandhu was of the view that a score of 121 out of 125 should be enough in his event to make the cut for the final.
He said the shooters from Russia, Italy and Australia start favourites in his event.
"But previous records and statistics are not everything because they are meant to be changed and that is what happens usually," he said.
Another shooter Sanjeev Rajput, who is taking part in his second Olympics, feels that in his event -- 50m rifle 3 position -- the field is fairly strong as 60 shooters, including world number one Nicolo of Italy, are in the fray.
Sanjeev's best in this event has been 1179 in 2009 Munich World Cup. According to him a score 1175 and above will be good enough to make it to the final round.