New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) He may be a relative newcomer at the international level, but emerging Indian shot put star Tejinder Pal Singh Toor is exuding loads of confidence as he heads into his maiden Asian Games.
"I am a sure contender for a medal. Of course, I will aim for gold. That is the biggest prize any athlete strives for. But even if I miss the gold, I am almost certain that I will finish on the podium," Toor told IANS.
"Any medal is valuable, but a gold is a gold," he added.
The tall, burly athlete from Punjab has enough reasons to be confident. The 23-year-old is one of the best proponents of the shot put in Asia and took the silver medal at the continental championships last year.
"This will be my first appearance at the Asian Games. But I am totally confident. There is no pressure or nervousness. I am confident of doing well. I am among the best in Asia and it will not be easy to beat me," Toor asserted.
This year, however, has been a difficult one for Toor. He had a poor outing at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, where he ended up at a disappointing eighth position.
Toor, however, prefers to look at the bright side and is determined to make amends at the Asian Games.
"I faced a lot of disappointment at the Commonwealth Games. But there were a lot of positives as well. The competition there was really tough and the experience will help me a lot in future tournaments. The confidence and self-belief that an athlete gets after competing against such a tough field is really invaluable," he said.
"The overall standards of the athletes at the Commonwealth Games is higher than the Asian Games. So the experience of competing there a few months before the Asiad will definitely help me a lot," he added.
Unlike several of his peers, Toor opted not to go for a training stint abroad, preferring instead to train at high altitude in Dharamsala.
"Practice is going well. I am happy with my preparations. I have shifted my training base to Dharamsala and it has helped me a lot," he said.
"I opted not to train abroad. The climate in Dharamsala is really good and I have trained well over the past few months," he added.
(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)