THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:It was out of the blue in 2014 that a 26-year-old Jitu Rai began dominating Indian shooting. Becoming the first and only shooter so far to book an Olympic Games quota for the country, Jitu has no intention of slowing down in the year ahead.
“My objective for 2015 is to improve. Whatever I have done in the past year, I want to do it better,” said Jitu who got his season off to a flyer by winning gold in the 10 metre air pistol of 35th National Games here on Thursday. The Armyman’s fairy tale 2014 consisted of gold in 50 metre pistol at both Asian and Commonwealth Games and silver at the ISSF World Championships in Spain capped off with a 10 metre air pistol gold at the ISSF World Cup in Maribor.
So, how does the marskman plan to improve on an almost perfect year? “I have given a lot to the sport since I started out as a shooter. Only thing I can do is to give more of myself to shooting,” Jitu replied.
His secret Jitu said is taking all aspects of the sport to heart. “People say battles are won in your mind. But in shooting, it is won and lost in your heart,” Jitu said.
Jitu also has a complete disregard of his opponents. “When you are competing against the likes of South Korea’s Olympic champion Jin Jigoh (like he did at the last world championships), you really do not want to think about who you are up against,” he said.
Now, the shooter is looking ahead to the summer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. “I want to perform to my level best at Rio. I will be devoting all my time to achieve that,” he said.
“I would also love to spend some time at Brazil and the shooting ranges there ahead of the Olympics to acclimatise to the food and weather conditions there,” said Jitu, who is determined not to return home from Rio empty-handed.