Success needs nothing but hard work and dedication. This has been recently proved by Jitu Rai, who fought all odds and became World’s number One 10m rifle shooter. From regular practice to a never-say-die spirit, Rai’s story is definitely one that inspires us all.
Often the most successful stories come from unsung heroes who quietly do their work and one day, create history. Jitu Rai is one such person who recently bagged the World No. 1 spot in the men’s 10m air pistol category as per ISSF rankings.
It all started when Rai, a Lucknow born boy, joined the Indian Army`s 11th Gorkha Regiment in 2006 where he was first handed a rifle, but was sent back due to his poor performance at the Mhow trials.
Having developed an interest in shooting, he started practicing and training in air pistol and participated in his first nationals in 2009.
After winning three medals in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup editions in Munich and Slovenia, this 27-year-old shooter is the seventh Indian shooter to achieve this spot. The others so far have been Rajyavardhan Rathore, Gagan Narang, Anjali Bhagwat, Ronjon Sodhi, Heena Sidhu and Manavjit Singh Sandhu.
Rai bagged a historical Gold after winning a Silver in the men’s air pistol event, and became the first Indian shooter to win two medals in a World Cup championship.
Having missed the free pistol gold by 0.1 point and having had to settle for silver, Rai shot 200.8 in the final round of the air pistol event to grab the gold medal.
His first international game was in Korea where he managed to be among the top 7 in the finals. He won one silver and one bronze in the 2013 Asian Air Gun championship in Iran. In the 2014 tournament in Kuwait, he won three silvers.
“That`s when I thought I could win medals in top international events,” Rai says. (Source)
National Rifle Association also rewarded Rai with a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh for his excellent performances.
Coming from a financially weaker background, Rai’s story is an inspiration for all who want to make it big. He lost his father in 2006, and his mother who is a farmer, single-handedly took care of him and his two siblings.
Rai is being looked after by a non-profit organization Olympic Gold Quest which takes care of his needs. He also credits his success to India’s pistol coach Pavel Smirnov, as also the army and national coaches.
“Jitu is dedicated, disciplined and working hard to win laurels for India. OGQ is confident that with the right kind of support he will be able to achieve his aim of winning a medal for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics,” says the officials from OGQ.
People from all over the country congratulated the army marksman on his recent achievements. It is these unsung heroes who make the country proud every day and we can’t thank them enough for bringing such credit to the nation and encouraging the lesser known sports. We wish him great success in all upcoming events, including the 2016 Rio Olympics!