THRISSUR: He has had a storied career and now Ronjan Sodhi is looking to end it with the loudest bang possible. After two Olympic Games filled with heartbreak, the former Double Trap World No 1 is looking to set the record straight in Rio with one last hurrah!
“The plan always was to shoot till 2016. I still have an year-and-half left. Rio will be my last shot at the Olympics, and after that I will just shoot for fun. I have been shooting internationally for a long time. I made the Indian team in 2001 and it has almost been 14 years. And I have achieved what I wanted to achieve in shooting other than the Olympic medal. So I am going to give it one last try in Rio. Life has a lot of other things to do, so maybe there are going to be some other avenues which are going to be there,” he says.
The 2010 Asian Games gold medallist though has an uphill task to just make it to Rio. The past seven months have not been kind to him and a poor run of form saw him failing to make the Indian team for the Commonwealth Games. Ronjan though is determined to fight it out. “Every sportsperson goes through a lean period. I have been struggling for form for the last 7-8 months. But I am not giving it up.”
The roots of his current lean run perhaps lie in London. In 2012, Ronjan was tipped as India’s brightest medal hope and looked set to put the disappointment of 2008, where he failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, firmly in the past. But the man from Firozpur is still at a loss to explain what happened next.
“I went into the Olympics as world number 2. I started off well and was leading in the first round. Even after the second round, I was ranked number 4. In the last round, I missed four out of the six targets. I still cannot understand or imagine how that could happen. It does not even happen to you on your worst day in training. That still hurts,” he says.
Ronjan though managed to achieve a semblance of closure just months after London. “Three months later, I beat all the Olympic medalists in the World Cup final. I was very eager to go there and prove to the world that it was just a case of me having an off day at the wrong time. And I did so.”
And Ronjan is now determined to start off his journey to redemption at the National Games. “I am looking at being in peak form during the latter half of 2015 and the National Games is the best place to start. The Asian Championships will be held in a few months. That is a realistic chance for me to qualify as I am not in the kind of form where I can go and qualify at the world level. There are a lot of things that I have changed. Before the Olympics I had shed around 35kgs but now I am back to my normal weight. I have made a lot of changes to my gun. I am also going to be training under a top coach, but I cannot reveal the name right now,” he says.