rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

Last updated on: August 11, 2014 09:26 IST

After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

     Next

Next
Laxmi Negi

'I dread those days of hard work in the army, waiting for my chance to be selected by my senior officers.

'I was sent back twice from the AMU (Army Marksmanship Unit) at Mhow (Madhya Pradesh) in 2007, barely a year after joining the army. I returned in 2008, but again I was sent back due to non-performance after just a year,' Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jitu Rai tells Laxmi Negi, looking back on his rise as a marksman.

India’s new ‘Pistol King’ Jitu Rai is not getting carried away by the accolades being showered on him. The 26-year-old shooter, who won his first Commonwealth Games gold on debut in the men's 50 metres pistol, though, declares his “time has come” and he’s “here to stay”.

The above mentioned remarks sound boastful, but, fact is, the Naib-Subedar in the 11 Gurkha Regiment is humility personified.

In June he became the first Indian shooter to win two medals in a single ISSF World Cup, even before completing two years in the international circuit.

Medals tally: 2014 Commonwealth Games

Complete coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Jitu Rai celebrates after winning the gold medal at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Photographs: Manvender Vashist/PTI

     Next

After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

With his soft voice he introduces himself as ‘Jitu Rai’, hastening to add he doesn’t expect everyone to know him.

Even after winning two World Cup medals and a Commonwealth Games gold, he remains grounded.

But you are in for a surprise when the marksman informs that he wasn’t well-prepared for the Glasgow Games.

“After the World Cup there was a lot of media attention and commitments outside shooting. Even at the practice range there was the media with their cameras. I hardly got time to practice before the Commonwealth Games,” he confessed, substantiating his assessment of himself.

But despite being a little short in practice, he was “confident of victory in the Commonwealth Games because of some good showing in earlier World meets”.

Please click NEXT for more...

 


Image: Jitu Rai celebrates after winning the gold medal at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Photographs: Manvender Vashist/PTI

Prev     Next

After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Born in Sankhusawa, Nepal, Rai joined the Indian army in 2006 as a sepoy and immediately opted to be a marksman.

Was it because Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore bagged a silver medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004? Was the double trap shooter-turned-politician his inspiration?

“No,” he declares, adding, “I did not think about that at that time. I can’t be compared to him. I think I haven’t achieved as much and I am not going to get carried away.

“All that I have achieved till now is thanks to the Indian army and my own hard work.”

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Jitu Rai
Photographs: Olympic Gold Quest

Prev     Next

After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Explaining the secret of his success, Rai said: “I was informed by my friends in the army that shooting would help me in my career in the armed forces. I used to watch probables being picked to prove themselves at the shooting range but somehow I was left behind. I dread those days of hard work in the army, waiting for my chance to be selected by my senior officers.

“I was sent back twice from the AMU (Army Marksmanship Unit) at Mhow (Madhya Pradesh) in 2007, barely a year after joining the army. I returned in 2008, but again I was sent back due to non-performance after just a year,” he laments.

Having failed twice in the army trials, Rai was subsequently sent back to his unit in Lucknow, putting an end to his training at the AMU in Mhow

But failure only made him stronger. He practised more and emerged third time lucky.

"I got selected in my third stint at AMU after firing with the 9mm pistol. I must confess, though, it is completely different shooting with an air pistol. I got the RTU (Return to Unit) order twice but continued to train hard at my unit and got selected again," Rai said.

Please click NEXT for more...


Image: Jitu Rai
Photographs: Olympic Gold Quest

Prev     Next

After Glasgow gold, Rai trains sights on Rio

Prev     More
Prev

More

In 2013 he was promoted to the rank of Havildar after winning a national medal and then another out-of-turn promotion as Naib Subedar followed after winning a medal in the Asian Championships.

Now, with the Commonwealth gold another feather in his cap, it is but natural to ask him about his chances at next month’s Asian Games and the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Quota places for the Rio Games will be up for grabs at the World Championships and Rai, who is supported by Olympic Gold Quest, is looking to seal one in his breakthrough year. There will 64 quota places up for grabs for the 2016 Olympics.

“I look at only one thing at a time. There’s the World Championships next month first in Granada, Spain, from September 6. Let’s see how that goes. I have been performing consistently since 2013 but have got noticed only this year. All I am thinking now is about getting the Olympic quota ticket.”

 

 


Image: Jitu Rai (right) and Gurpal Singh of India celebrate after winning the gold and silver medal at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Photographs: Manvender Vashist/PTI

Prev     More