For the last two-and-a-half years, missing out on a 2008 Beijing Olympic Games berth has haunted double-trap marksman Ronjan Sodhi.
Every step he has taken, every tournament he has participated in after that has been with just one aim — to bag a quota place for the country in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
On Sunday, the Punjab shooter not only won silver in the third World Cup of the season in Beijing, he also earned a quota place for the 2012 Games. Ronjan shot 183 (142+41) to clinch the second spot in the prestigious event. “The conditions were not favourable. It was windy… the trajectory of the pigeons kept changing. But I am happy that I won silver and earned the Olympic quota,” Ronjan told HT from Beijing.
“I failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics and it still weighs on my mind. This year, I had set the target of earning a quota as early as possible. My next target is to utilise the remaining one-and-a-half years to prepare for London 2012,” said Ronjan, who became the fourth Indian shooter after Gagan Narang, Hariom Singh and Sanjeev Rajput to clinch a quota for the country.
A few months before the 2008 Olympics, Ronjan had equalled the world record on way to gold in a World Cup, but at that time the Beijing Olympic quota places had got exhausted. Since then, his single-minded approach has seen him bag a whopping 14 international medals, including six World Cup medals.
“Last year too, I had a very good international outing but at that time there were no quota places at stake. Now, I am planning to train in London in August and get used to the conditions at the venue that will host the Olympic competition,” said Ronjan, who won the lone gold for the country in shooting at last year’s Asian Games.
“Ronjan has always lived up to expectations and I am sure he will win a medal in London,” said Raja KS Sidhu, secretary-general, Punjab State Rifle Association.