Jitu Rai had “unflinching belief” in his ability to fight back in Commonwealth Games final
Jitu Rai said he believed had unflinching belief in his ability to stage a comeback and win the men’s 10m air pistol gold after a rather average qualifying outing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG 2018) in Gold Coast on Monday. (CWG live updates)
“Frankly speaking, my qualification score was not very good, but I had 100 percent faith in my ability that I can do it, because I have done well in the finals and won many medals in the past. My belief was unflinching,” Rai said.
The World Championships silver medallist broke the CWG record (235.1) to claim the top prize by some distance in the final after being placed fourth in the qualification phase with 570.
“Two-three low scores pulled me down but then my belief helped me. That makes me really happy. So, I was confident of covering it in the finals and I never back off. So again, I am reaping the rewards of all the hard word work I have put in during training,” added Rai, whose less fancied compatriot Om Prakash Mitharval equalled the qualification record with a 584 but could not match the senior pro in the decisive stage.
Young Mehuli Ghosh settled for a silver medal after forcing a shoot-off in the women’s 10m air rifle event with a perfect final shot of 10.9 while defending champion Apurvi Chandela secured bronze.
Asked about what looked like a premature celebration by her when she thought she had won a gold following that 10.9, Ghosh said, “It was my mistake. I was so focused on the game I didn’t notice it was only a shoot-off.”
The 17-year-old, who trains at Olympian Joydeep Karmakar’s academy in Kolkata, added, “It was my first Commonwealth Games. I’m happy but definitely not satisfied.”
On her plans for future competitions, she said, “I will try harder next time. I know I can do more and will try my best.”
The air rifle finals witnessed an exciting a climax as Ghosh, at 17 years of age, ensured a shoot-off with Singapore’s Martina Lindsay Veloso, the eventual gold medallist and one who displayed imperious form all along, and so was Ghosh.
Both Veloso and Ghosh shot a Games record 247.2 before the Singaporean had the last laugh with a 10.3 in the shoot-off as her Indian rival managed 9.9 at the Belmont Shooting Centre.
Chandela had earlier smashed her own Commonwealth Games qualifying record from four years back by scoring 423.2.
On her performance Chandela said, “Very good overall, a medal for my country again. Maybe a few shots could have been better, but overall I am happy with my medal.”