Sandhya Winfred hailing from Chennai started her venture in sports at the age of 11. Started off the sports career merely as a hobby, her mom is a shooter and hence she started to practice. Sandhya in the near future wants to start a sports academy and a center for arts like kalakshetra for the budding talents. The left handed shooter battled her way hard enough as she got a right handed weapon. She was about to relinquish shooting and thought of shifting to boxing. She stayed and fought with all her might and now has added laurels to her sports carrier.
Describe your sport in one word
It is my kind of meditation. Shooting for some people might get monotonous as we have to do the same thing again and again. But shooting is my way to get peace.
Mental Stability vs Physical Strength?
We need both. In fact we need three in shooting technical ability as well. All three should be balanced.
If you were to rank it how would you do it?
Mental, physical and technical. Technical is basic, even a beginner would understand it gradually how it works. An Olympian does what a beginner does but his mental and physical strength is much better and his experience also tops, that’s what it is because we keep doing the same thing, its nothing new that you do. The technical stability can be acquired through practice but after a point of time it’s just the other two.
Lamest things that you have ever done?
I am a left handed shooter and when I started, I only had a right handed weapon and this was a strenuous task and I used to be so frustrated because no matter how much effort I put in, the results weren’t satisfying that too because of something that was no fault of mine. So there was this one Nationals at Delhi, I did not perform well, I started crying and I told my mom that I want to join boxing. So that I can vent it out somewhere.
Define a good coach.
Someone who does not push their ideas or their methods on me. He should let me be myself and try to help the way I am. They shouldn’t be imposing. Somebody who can work it out with me.
I have had that a lot. I used to have it during schooldays. I used to have this junior kid who would follow me everywhere. She used to tell that I am like Deepika Padukone and she like Shah rukh Khan. I know it sounds very wrong but she meant like, junior artist and senior artist. But now she pretends like she doesn’t know me.
Your most prized possession?
My weapon, I call it my baby. I got the license when I was at the age of 14 but I was too young and 16 is the age when I got my weapon.
Are you a Predator or a Buddha when you enter the stadium?
There is a predator inside me but I have to pretend like a Buddha. I can’t let that predator come out during a game.
Your shooting mantra?
Self-talk yeah but then I try to keep my mind blank most of the time. I used to curse myself for a bad shot when I was younger but now I have changed it, even if it is a good shot I try to keep numb.
The funniest prank you have played on someone.
I didn’t do any pranks it is just my friends who do it.
Do you rehearse strategies, execution, & feelings for every competition?
I do visualize it sometimes; what I have come to realize is that I am very meticulous so I don’t need to visualize that much. It’s more like a way of life, I just live it. I don’t specifically visualize often, I just go with the flow.
“I consider my gun as my weapon”
Are you enjoying the process of sport?
I enjoy the sport first I don’t calculate the outcomes while shooting, I just keep going.
Is sports a natural talent or a skill that is developed?
I think it’s natural. But if you don’t nurture it, it would be a mere waste. Only if you bring out the talent in you, it would be fruitful.
The moment when you felt like you were a hero among the others around you?
When I was in 11th I was supposed to be the sports captain, me and my friend who was a table tennis player was also included in the candidate list and we were ready for the elections but they brought some other kid from science group and we were removed from the list and we fought with the games teacher. But in 12th, they had to give me an award for academics since I topped in one of the subjects and all of my teachers were amazed.
Do you like to be in the spotlight?
I love the attention and when I hear the crowd cheering for me (when I used to play hockey) I would get adrenaline rush.
Two moments that every player needs to be ready for?
To face it when you lose the game. You should not lose your heart. You should be ready and take it gracefully. When you win a game you should not stagnate but evolve, they shouldn’t get carried away as there is a long way to go.
Will you marry someone in the sports field or someone who is not in sports?
I don’t want a sportsperson. Actually when I was I a kid I wanted to marry a chef so that I wouldn’t have to cook. I hate going to kitchen.
If you get to swap a day with a sports person, who will it be?
Michael Phelps and take all his medals and run away.
Your ultimate achievement?
To represent the country, wearing that jacket and moving around itself was beyond the words.
Your favorite opponent
My friend Anjum, she is from Chandigarh. From the beginning we used to be together. She is a very nice person. I always look upon her. She is actually one of the few who would actually come and help me out if I had a problem. She was the only person I knew when I entered the squad, naturally we became good friends. My first finals, she was on the next lane with me and that match went like a breeze. We get along very well.
If you are given a time machine, will you go forward or backward?
I would just go forward and I would like to relive one of my national games. It was my second final in my career, I was the only junior. I didn’t have any expectations, but it so happened that I finished at the third because I thought I didn’t even deserve it.