No mental baggage for judoka Sushila Devi at Tokyo Olympics | Tokyo Olympics News

Not being a medal favourite can work in my favour, says judoka
CHANDIGARH: A hamstring tear in 2018 left her depressed and out of the Asian Games, and by the time she bounced back for a shot at Tokyo Olympics qualification, the global pandemic played spoilsport to her chances, but judoka Likmabam Sushila Devi has eventually learnt to deal with adversities and emerge stronger.
Sushila, India’s lone representative in the sport in Tokyo, has qualified through the continental quota which is allotted on the basis of a judoka’s ranking in the region. Asia has 10 quota slots and Sushila, with 989 points, is seventh on the list.
Having overcome the obstacles, Sushila is now keen to prove herself at the global stage, and with very few expecting a podium finish for her, the 26-year-old is at ease. “Qualifying for the Olympics is a dream for any athlete, but the mental pressure of getting a medal can sometimes lead to an anti-climax. For me, thankfully I don’t carry the baggage, but I know I am good enough for a medal,” Sushila told TOI during a virtual interaction.
“I have been training day in and out, to cope up with the loss due to Covid-19 pandemic. Even the second wave of the pandemic hurt us big time, when many of the campers at the Indira Gandhi Stadium had tested positive, but that’s past now. We can’t live on excuses, we have to earn a medal,” the Manipuri judoka asserted.
Earlier this week, she returned to Delhi for the pre-departure camp after a month-long training stint in Chateau Gontier in France, where the focus was on fitness and improvement of technique under French coach Rodrigue Chenet.
“The second wave almost snatched our chances as we were forced to stay indoors, but thankfully the trip to France helped me get back into training mode once again. The focus was mainly on strength training and working on technical glitches. This will keep me in good stead,” she quipped.
Despite the recent setbacks, her coach Jivan Sharma from the Inspire Institute of Sport in Bellary, is hopeful that his ward could be a dark horse in Tokyo.

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