This one is very special, says Sodhi
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This one is very special, says Sodhi

Ronjan Sodhi of India won the individual Gold medal in the men's Double Trap event of the Asian Games shooting today, while China took the team title. Asian Games Special

other Updated: Nov 21, 2010 23:10 IST
Ajai Masand
Ajai Masand
Hindustan Times

Much before Ronjan Sodhi had won gold, his family and friends had organised a Sunday night party to celebrate the weekend. Their joy knew no bounds when news trickled in that the ace double-trap marksman had made history by becoming the first Indian to win a double-trap gold at the Games.

"The celebrations will be grand now," said Birendeep, Ronjan's younger brother, who is also an international shotgun shooter, but couldn't get selected for the Games.

For the man in the spotlight, it was a day of grind, which started at 9am and concluded with bouquets and a gold. "Yes, it was tough coming back from a four-point deficit in the finals. For the last six months, I have been training specially for these situations, of shooting well in the finals.

"This is a very special medal as it has lifted the gloom and bad publicity surrounding the shooting contingent. My game plan today was to make the final. I was very confident that despite the 44/50 I shot in the second series, I would make the grade. After I entered the final, my thought was on winning a medal of any hue. With the Chinese having a bad day, I moved to top.

"But this is not my target. My target is to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games when the qualification tournaments begin in March next year. I have suffered enough after not making it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics despite my superb form. But this time there will be no glitches," said the 31-year-old Delhi marksman.

"What helped me get the right kind of preparation before the Games was a training stint in Lonato (Italy) immediately after the Commonwealth Games with coach Marcello Dradi. I knew a lot of eyes were on me after the Indian shooters' unimpressive performance. That's why I had even stopped reading newspapers for the last one week.

"Moreover, I had to do justice to my No. 3 world ranking. Thankfully, it all paid off today."

On whether he rated his Games gold or the World Cup Finals top position as the most prized, the affable champion said, "The World Cup achievement is bigger than the Asian Games gold. For India, I suppose my Asian Games achievement is bigger."

On the team bronze, which was lost because of mediocre scores from Asher Noria and Vikram Bhatnagar, he said, "We could have improved upon our bronze-medal performance. I also shot a 44 in the second series, so I am also a culprit. All of us trained hard for this day, and we are all winners," he said.

"Now, I just want to take a break. Need to unwind and get on with the Olympic qualification job in March," he said.

First Published: Nov 21, 2010 12:13 IST