Indian shooter Manu Bhaker has a monkey on her back

Swimmer SP Likith, meanwhile, is stranded at a farm and has been swimming in a tank meant for irrigation.

By Olympic Channel Writer ·

Indian shooter Manu Bhaker is one of the select few athletes who has been blessed with a shooting range at home.

It gives her some advantage over other shooters, who have to resort to dry firing as a means of practice at their homes under the national lockdown.

But the 18-year-old Manu Bhaker has her own set of problems and a unique one at that.

"I am trying to practice daily because I have a range inside the house itself and I try to take complete of the facility," the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist pistol shooter told India Today. "But there are some issues some days. Like I have a manual machine and it breaks every other day.

"Also, there are a lot of monkeys here and because the range is open from the backside, they also hamper my practice," she pointed out.

Preparing for what will be her maiden Olympic appearance (she bagged a quota in the women's 10m Air Pistol event last year) Manu Bhaker practices about four hours a day at home in Jhajjar, Haryana amid the coronavirus outbreak that has forced people to stay indoors.

"We were at the peak of our performance recently and would have been nice to compete at the Olympics right now," she added. "But then, health is more important than anything.

"But when we practice with the team, there is always that competitive spirit, because we can see people doing better than us. So that's lacking," the teenager pointed out.

Welcome to the jungle

Indian swimmer Likith SP, meanwhile, has been surrounded by nature and has to make do with what he has.

Currently held back with 25 other athletes at a large farm owned by his coach in Puttur, on the Karnataka-Kerala border, where he was to take part in a workshop, the 21-year-old's preparations have been hampered as well.

Likith SP is held up in a farm in Puttur, on the Karnataka-Kerala border along with 15 other swimmers. Photo: Khelo India

"The area where we are staying is surrounded by thick forests, and you can say I am stuck in a jungle," Likith SP told the Times of India. "There are over 120 species of birds here. Spotting wild boars, snakes and scorpions are common here."

But he, and 15 other swimmers at the farm, have also spent nearly two months away from a swimming pool so have had to improvise to keep training.

"We train inside a water tank measuring 24 by 20 metres, which is primarily kept for irrigation purposes," the Tokyo Olympics hopeful said. "I swim four times a week."

The breaststroker is eyeing to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics but finds himself in a tricky position. The Karnataka swimmer has a personal best of 1.02.02 in the 100m breaststroke that he recorded at the Malaysia Open last year. But with the ‘A’ qualifying time for the event set at 59.93 seconds, the Indian international stares at a difficult road ahead.