For one who took to shooting quite late, RVS Rathore’s determination to excel in double trap speaks volumes about his work ethics. However, after a superb last year, when he won everything from a World Cup gold to an Asian Games medal, the Athens Olympic Games silver-medallist seems to have hit a form slump. After missing a couple of ISSF World Cups in St. Domingo and Changwon (Korea), he finished 23rd and ninth respectively in the Lonato (Italy) and Maribor (Slovenia) World Cups.
HT managed to catch him in Dubai, where he is training with his friend-cum-coach, Olympic gold-medallist Ahmed-Al Makhtoum, for the ISSF World Championships at Nicosia (Cyprus) and the Afro-Asian Games in Algiers. Following are excerpts from an emailed interview, with Rathore at his feisty best:
These last three years — from 2004 to 2006 — have brought you lots of medals and glory at the international level. However, 2007 doesn’t seem to be going the way you would have probably wanted it to… Do you agree?
Sure, I won a lot of medals between 2004 and ’06 but it’s interesting that you mention it in the e-mail, as I have never found it mentioned so positively in the newspaper articles. But anyway it may just be the lull before the storm.
After the Doha Asian Games, where the tough conditions probably deprived you of a gold medal, do you feel a bit disappointed? And is your bad patch an offshoot of that?
I welcome tough conditions anywhere. Doha was different but I stayed tough and came back like a champion and that was a remarkable comeback by any standard. Winning the gold would not have been as sweet a victory for me as bulldozing my way back from the 13th spot to the bronze. For me, it will go down as a victory in my memory down the ages.
After the Asian Games last year till the time you participated in the ISSF World Cup at Lonato recently, how were your preparations going? Also, why did you choose to skip the first two World Cups this season?
Since 1999, I had not taken a break for more than one week till 2006. I needed time to take a look at my shooting from the perspective of an outsider... needed a break.
With the Olympic Games round the corner, what would your training schedule be?
All those close to me know that my training schedules are very tough. And they will remain so for my satisfaction.
After the silver-medal winning performance in Athens, can you feel the pressure going to Beijing?
I have achieved everything for my country. From here on, everything else is a bonus.
Many people are saying that ‘stardom’ has got to do with your recent showing….
In this world, there are two kinds of people, those who do and those who don’t do. It’s the latter that are always speculating. Let them.
We all know about your friendship with Ahmed-Al Makhtoum. How much of an inspiration to you has he been, and are you still seeking his guidance?
Ahmed is certainly an inspiration and so are all achievers, be they from any field. I draw inspiration from the world I live in.
At a personal level, how does your family motivate you to do better and how do they cope?
Each one of us strives to be a better person, better at what we choose to do. My family believes that it’s the sincere effort that’s important; the result is not in our hands. I am lucky to have such a support base from a very large magnitude of people I represent.