Shooting star wants to build on World Championships success at coming events
New Delhi: He has just become the first Indian shooter to win five international medals in a calendar year, but Jitu Rai remains hungry for more and wants to achieve as many podium finishes as possible in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Jitu Rai of India competes in the men's 50m pistol final during the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this year. Pic/Getty Images
The 25-year-old Rai last week won an Olympic quota place with a silver medal at the ongoing World Championships in Granada, Spain, becoming the first Indian to do so.
"I have won the quota and a silver and I would really like to continue in same vein so that I can enter the Rio Olympics on a confident note. 2016 Olympic Games remains my ultimate target, so I do not want to relax one bit and will continue to work hard," Rai said after his career's biggest achievement.
While he harbours hopes of tasting success in the Olympics, the Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army also has his eyes trained on the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon.
"The Asian Games is also a huge multi-sport extravaganza and I would like to do well there, win a medal and bring laurels to the country," he said a few hours before his departure for Incheon. Rai had come back from Spain on Saturday.
"The competition is going to be tough but I am pretty confident of finishing on the podium and continue the momentum," he added.
Rai bagged the white metal in the men's 50-metre pistol event at the at the CEAR Juan Carlos I shooting range. Talking about the moments before the event in Granada, Rai said he was upbeat after entering the finals.
"The qualifying rounds have many shooters from around the world, and all of them are good. But once I was in the final, I was confident of not just earning a quota but also a medal," he said.
In his pet event, the top-4 shooters earned Olympic quota places. The Army marksman narrowly missed out on the gold medal to South Korean double Olympic champion and world record holder, Jin Jingoh.
Jitu's current position in the ISSF world rankings in 50m pistol. He has also won five medals across major competitions around the world this year