Shooter Jitu Rai: I had all the support, but was not able to perform on the day at Rio

Shooter Jitu Rai: I had all the support, but was not able to perform on the day at Rio

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Jitu Rai boarded the flight to Rio earlier this month as a sure shot medal prospect for India at the Olympics, but he returned empty-handed after entering a final. Speaking ahead of the National Sports Awards ceremony, Jitu Rai said that he had all the support, but failed to perform on the day.

At Rio, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist in the 50m pistol, made it to the final of the 10m pistol event and seemed on course to entering the final of the 50m pistol event before an uncharacteristic 88 in the last series ended his chances.  Although he had an underwhelming performance at the Olympics, the shooter’s brilliant run in the last two years earned him the Khel Ratna Award. Speaking to reporters on Sunday, ahead of the ceremony today, Jitu Rai said that it was a huge honour to win the award.

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“It is a huge honour to have won the Khel Ratna, but at the same time I know that if I had won an Olympic medal it would have been an even better feeling,” he said, reported the Indian Express.

When asked about the disappointment at Rio, the 29-year-old said that he does not want to make any excuses.

“I don’t want to make excuses for how I performed in the Olympics. But I still sometimes think what could have been. Perhaps I could have entered the competition with a different sort of mentality. Or perhaps I could have managed the wind conditions better,” he said.

“I had all the facilities all the help and all the support but on the day I was not able to perform. I can’t really blame anyone can I?”.

“Perhaps I could have trained under windy conditions a lot more. I trained in those conditions for a bit during the start of 2015. We would use turning fans to simulate windy conditions at the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow. But because we had a lot of international competition that year I didn’t train that way for as long as I could have,” Jitu opined.

Although he had a disappointing Games, Jitu Rai is looking forward to the next one at Tokyo.

“Maybe I can take some inspiration from this. Perhaps I could see this as preparations for the 2020 Games. I have learned a lot. I still have a long way to go,” Jitu Rai said before signing off.

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