Indian teenager Rudrankksh Balasaheb Patil,produced a special afternoon of shooting in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, pulling off a dramatic 17-15 victory over Italy’s Danilo Dennis Sollazzo in the gold medal match to be crowned World Champion in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle Olympic event. It was India’s first gold medal of the event and came on day two of the International Shooting Sport Federation World Championship Rifle/Pistol at the Egypt International Olympic City shooting range.

It was not only Patil’s biggest win of his life till date, but it also earned a Paris 2024 Olympics quota for his country in this event. It is now India’s second Paris quota in the sport of Shooting, after Bhowneesh Mendiratta had won the first in the Men’s Trap at the Shotgun World Championships in Osijek, Croatia, which preceded the Cairo World Championships for Rifle and Pistol.

Patil, 18, produced a stunning performance in to become only the second 10m air rifle senior men’s world champion after Abhinav Bindra.

Here is what he had to say after his win on Friday:

Has it sunk in?

For the first five minutes after the final it did not, after that I realised that I had won.

You have been around in the domestic circuit, in the India juniors for a while now. This is your first year in the senior team. Take us through your Shooting journey and who all have been instrumental?

I started Shooting in 2015 and in the very first year itself I won a bronze medal at the nationals. I had a great team supporting me. My first coach was Snehal Kadam ma’am in Thane and then after the Khelo India gold in 2020, Neha Chavan ma’am has been mentoring me and Ajit Patil sir has been my technical coach. I spoke to both of them today and they are all very happy. Then there has been Suma (Shirur) ma’am and all the national coaches the physios and Olympic Gold Quest who have all supported me in my journey. We have a concept of one team and that besides some good karma maybe has made this day possible.

Who would you like to dedicate this win to?

My parents who have supported me and shown confidence in me right through, and also dedicate it to the country.

You were brilliant throughout the day today. Going into your relay, your teammate Ankush Jadhav had already posted a brilliant score of 630.6. Was that playing on your mind?

Suma ma’am told me not to see the first relay. So I did not see it and only knew about all the scores after the final.

It was a nerve-wracking final. You were behind most of the way before coming back brilliantly in the end to seal the title? What was going through your mind when you were behind?

Earlier in the year in the Baku world cup the same thing happened. It was a big stage and I qualified third. In the ranking round I was overwhelmed, was seeing other things. So I kept reminding myself of that and kept telling myself to stay in the present and concentrate on the process.

Going into the final did you know a certain Abhinav Bindra was the only other World Champion in Air Rifle and that you had shot a score which was almost a world record?

Yes of course I knew about Abhinav sir being a world champion and also knew about shooting a world record, but was more focussed on the process.

National Coach, Thomas Farnik called for a time-out at a crucial time. What were you two discussing at the time?

Nothing, he just told me to be myself and to keep focussing on the process.

Take us through your preparations leading up to the World Championship

We had good eight days training with the national coaches at the Karni Singh and what really helped was that we arrived four days before at Cairo. That really helped us settle down, get a feel of the range and be ready for today.

Any message you want to give to your countrymen and your fans , which I am sure will increase by leaps and bounds now?

All I can say is that I have learnt that if you are able to dream big and work hard for it, nothing is impossible.

Quotes provided by NRAI