I reached Beijing about eight or nine days before the Games. I was technically very ready. Physically, I was in good shape. Mentally, it was very different. I was process driven and living in the moment. No thought about the future.

Most importantly, I had stopped questioning myself. I had taken a leap of faith. After all the intense preparation, I had to back myself.

Three days before leaving for Beijing, I did the commando training, challenging myself to the limit, in Germany. Climbing the pizza pole, I was totally out of my comfort zone. The body and mind were working together.

My first thought after that experience was, if I can do this, winning an Olympic medal should not be that difficult.

There was no fear any more. I was not attached to the outcome.

READ | Leander Paes on his 1996 Atlanta Olympics bronze: Tears of triumph and pain

I could look myself in the mirror and answer the…

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