10m air rifle world record-breaking team member Rudrankksh of Mumbai reveals he made shooting his priority from football, cricket as per dad’s wishes
Shooters Rudrankksh Patil (right), Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (centre) and Divyansh Singh Panwar after winning the Asian Games gold. Pic/PTI
Teenager Rudrankksh Patil had a liking for cricket in his growing years at Thane’s Hiranandani School and then Singhania College, but on the insistence of his IPS officer father Balasaheb, he decided to pursue shooting professionally, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Patil, 19, has finished on the podium in almost every competition he has participated in, be it the Junior World Championships, Junior World Cups or Senior World Cups. On Monday, he helped India win its first gold medal of this Games, winning the 10m air rifle men’s team title alongside compatriots Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Divyansh Singh Panwar with a world record score of 1983.7. Korea (1890.1) finished second while China (1888.2) took the bronze.
‘I’m good at standing still’
Patil took a liking for shooting as soon as he tried his hand at it for the first time as a summer sport at the age of 11. “I played cricket and football too, but they are both team games and my dad was worried that there might be some politics involved in future, so I may miss out. He felt that shooting is an individual game, where one can show his own ability, so there’s no question of politics creeping in.
Shooter Rudrankksh Patil with his dad Balasaheb
That’s the reason I decided to pursue shooting. Also, I’m not much of a mover. I’m very good at standing still, which is a prerequisite in shooting, so that has helped too. I began professionally in 2017 and everything started going well,” Patil told mid-day moments after he finished fourth in the 10m air rifle individual event behind bronze-winner Aishwary, after their team gold medal effort.
Even the fourth place is a learning for Patil. “I’m happy with the fourth place because this result will keep me on my toes. I was getting a lot of [positive] results every time, so this was required. Now, I know what I need to work on in the next competition,” explained the SYBA student at Dadar’s Kirti College.
World record, a surprise
Coming back to the record-breaking gold medal feat, Patil said he and his teammates never expected it. “We thought we were good enough to win a silver or gold, but never thought it would be a world record. Throughout the event, we never kept track of each other’s scores, so we didn’t even know that it was a gold till the last shot. Only when our coach told us that it’s a world record, did we realise that it has to be the gold medal then,” Patil signed off with a laugh.