India’s latest Olympic quota holder, Sanjeev Rajput on Friday said he was “under pressure and disturbed” after one of his shots was recorded as zero due to a scoring equipment malfunction at the ISSF World Cup in Rio on Thursday.
Staging a remarkable recovery, Rajput secured India’s eighth Olympic quota in shooting with a silver medal in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions event of the World Cup on Thursday.
The 38-year-old shot 462 in the final to finish second on the podium behind Petar Gorsa of Croatia (462.2).
“I was a little disturbed throughout the qualification as one of my shots was recorded as a zero,” the two-time Olympian said.
“We then protested and fired an extra shot, which was a 10 and I qualified comfortably.
“In fact we are still in protest and my score should be 1181 and not 1180.”
Rajput could have won the gold but for an 8.8 in the last shot, which saw him miss his second World Cup yellow medal, after the one he had won in 2011, by a slender 0.2 point margin to Gorsa, who had won the Olympic quota in air rifle.
“It was a delayed shot. You have a timing in your mind - like a whole shot process should conclude in say 30-40 seconds,” he said.
“When that sequence gets disturbed, the release gets delayed by a fraction - these things can happen in shooting. It is a matter of the tiniest fractions.”
The former Indian Navy marksman rallied after a poor start in the final, where he hit the 9s in his first three shots.
“There was pressure as I was playing in a final after a long time,” Rajput said.
He said a change in approach to shooting in standing position has helped him in the final.
“I have made some changes to the way I am approaching the standing position. I was aware that it was my weak area
“So today even though I knew that the difference was big going into the standing position, I followed the entire process judiciously - you know the whole sequence leading up to the shot release and I guess that helped,” Rajput said.
Asked what he thinks about Indian shooting’s recent surge, he said the country’s shooters now go for the top prize.
“I think the biggest difference is that now everyone wants to win. When I started it was more about preserving your place in the side. Now they are looking at gold,” he said.
“This change in approach is the biggest reason that medals are coming.”
Rajput thanked his coach, the national federation and Sports Authority of India for his success.
“I am very happy especially to do it on National Sports Day. I had a barrel exchange last month thanks to the Tops Scheme and that has helped a lot.
“So I want to thank the SAI and the NRAI for the constant support. And also my coach Oleg (Mikhailov). He has always kept faith in me,” Rajput added.