Indian shooter Jitu Rai is confident of a podium finish in the Commonwealth Games (CWG).
He created history earlier this month when he shot a double in Maribor, Slovenia after winning the silver in the ISSF World Cup in Munich. He became the first Indian to win two medals at a World Championship.
"This performance will help me in the long run definitely, but as of now, I am pretty confident of winning a medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow," Jitu said.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) rewarded him with a cash prize of Rs. 5 lakh for his good performances. Jitu will be aiming for a medal in the free pistol event in CWG.
The Lucknow born lad credited his success to India’s pistol coach Pavel Smirnov.
"Pavel sir has helped me a lot, especially with my technique, he is very good at that. Even the army coach was of help, and so were all the national coaches," he said.
Jitu has struggled a lot since the demise of his father eight years ago.
"My mother has worked a lot ever since. She is a farmer and does her best to make ends meet so that we don`t suffer," Jitu, who has got a younger as well as one elder brother, said."Everything is going good now," an optimist Jitu, who is being looked after by non-profit organisation Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ), added.
He recalled his initial tryst with the sport.
"In 2006 December I joined Army`s 11 Gorkha regiment centre, where I was introduced to shooting. I was sent to Mhow trials but was sent back from there after a bad performance."Then I started training in air pistol with a renewed vigour and participated in my first nationals in 2009. In 2011, I won three medals and on July 19, 2011, I was called by Army Marksman Unit. After a quiet 2012, the following year I started doing well. In the nationals, I won silver in air pistol and finished on top in free pistol, which earned me a chance to compete in international events," said Jitu.
"My first international event was in Korea and I finished in top-7 in final. I won one silver and one bronze in the 2013 Asian Air Gun championship in Iran. In the 2014 tournament in Kuwait, I won three silvers, and also shot well in the Fort Benning World Cup in USA. That`s when I thought I could win medals in top international events,” he added.