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Why has India’s pistol coach asked the shooters to remain silent?

New Delhi: A firm believer of the saying ‘silence is golden’, India’s pistol coach Smirnov Pavel doesn’t mind a gag order being issued on the country’s top shooters in his quest to help them prepare for the Rio Olympics in the best possible manner.

It was the Russian, who mentored Vijay Kumar before he went on to clinch a silver medal at the London Olympics three years ago. And now he has under his wing another bright prospect-pistol king Jitu Rai, who has won an unprecedented seven medals in one calendar year, making him a hot favourite to finish on the podium in the Brazilian city next year.

“Jitu is obviously there, he is very hard working, but there are others too. But just like with Vijay Kumar before the London Games, I would say they should not be approached for interviews and all,” Pavel, who was working with the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, before being appointed coach of the Indian team in 2013, said Sunday.

He added, “It is very important to be silent and focus on the job. Questions such as ‘how many medals can one expect in Olympics, how about the preparations only add to the pressure. That should not be the way.”

Pavel says the real preparation for Rio Games will start only in January 2016, after the team selection is complete. “How can I prepare for Olympics till we have the complete team, which will happen after the final selection trial in January. The Asian Shooting Championship is also coming up and we can win a few more quotas in Kuwait as well,” he said on the sidelines of the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.