Jitu Rai © Getty Images
Jitu Rai © Getty Images

By S S Ramaswamy

Incheon: Sep 21, 2014

A day after clinching the 50m pistol gold in the ongoing Asian Games, Jitu Rai said he has not spoken to his mother for the last one month since he took part in the Shooting World Championship in Granada, Spain, where he picked up a silver.

“I have not spoken to my mother since last one month ever since I went for the world championship. She doesn’t yet know I have won a gold. I will get in touch with her now. She is in Itari (Nepal),” said the army shooter who is the new star of the Indian shooting fraternity.

Asked how he felt after grabbing India’s first gold of the Games and the first in pistol shooting since Jaspal Rana’s feat in the 25m centre fire pistol in the Hiroshima Asian Games of 1994, Rai said, “I was thrilled to win the gold.”

The pistol shooter of Nepal-origin rued that he was mentally tired after winning the 50m gold yesterday and could not get time to prepare for today’s event because of the cramped schedule.

“I was mentally tired. I did not get time for preparations for today’s event,” he said after playing a major part in India clinching the team bronze today in the men’s 10m air pistol event in which he had finished fifth.

Asked about his seventh medal in major international meets this year, which also include the CWG gold in Glasgow and silver in the world championships, Rai said, “It has been a good season, but I want to go ahead. The Olympics are there (in 2016 in Rio) for which I have got a quota place (in 50m).”

The 27-year-old Mhow-based shooter also praised national pistol coach Smirnov Pavel saying, “There’s a good rapport between me and my coach. I listen to whatever he says. He gives me programme also, he’s very good.”

He said although it’s the 50m in which he has been more successful of late, he wanted to concentrate on 10m air pistol also. “I will concentrate on both events,” he said. Rai is also grateful “to the army for the discipline inculcated in me”. Asked if he would go and cheer the hockey team now as his events were over, Rai said, “I don’t watch any other game but concentrate on my game only.”

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