New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) Expressing confidence that he will claim a medal at the upcoming ISSF World Cup here, Indian shooter Abhishek Verma said that the hosts will have to deal with increased expectations and home ground pressure in order to emerge triumphant.
"There is an increased responsibility when we are playing on home ground. There are a lot of advantages as well. But if you are unable to handle the pressure, playing at home can be a negative factor also. It is better to take up the challenge with a positive mindset," Verma told IANS.
With the tournament being held at the Karni Singh range here, Verma asserted that the Indians are better prepared to do well in home conditions.
"When we play tournaments in foreign countries, we often don't get too much time to practise in those conditions. We have to wait for three-four days without practice before going into tournaments. But here we are practising everyday and will go into the World Cup in a much better frame of mind," he said.
"We already have two Olympic quotas in the rifle events. We have our strongest possible team in every event at this World Cup. In several events, we have the strongest team. Pressure will only be there when we don't work hard," he added.
Asserting that he is working extra hard during practice sessions, the 29-year-old said he is confident of bagging medals both at the World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics next year.
"I always try to go into a tournament with a positive mindset. I also practise throughout the day and not just for a few hours. I have increased the number of practice sessions I do in a day and have also increased the intensity. I am doing meditation and yoga for mental strength," Verma remarked.
"I want to give my best finish on the podium at both events," he added.
(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at email@example.com)