Belief. Jitu Rai said that was the key factor in his gold medal winning effort in the men’s 10m air pistol event at the Commonwealth Games.
The World Championship silver medallist broke the CWG record (235.1) to claim the top prize by some distance in the finals after finishing fourth in the qualification with a score of 570.
“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.
“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.”
Rai’s less fancied compatriot Om Prakash Mitharval shattered the qualification record, scoring 584, but could not match his senior pro in the final.
The air rifle finals witnessed an exciting a climax as Mehuli Ghosh, 17, lost a shoot-off with Singapore’s Martina Lindsay Veloso, the eventual gold medallist.
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.
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 when she thought she had won the gold medal with a 10.9 shot, 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.”
“I will try harder next time. I know I can do more and will try my best,” she added.