“I let my rifle do the talking,” said Thane’s 17-year-old Rudrankksh Patil who bagged the silver medal in men’s 10m air rifle at the ISSF Junior World Championships held in Lima, Peru.
This was Rudrankksh Patil’s first maiden international competition. The teenage prodigy shot a total of 250.0 in the eight-man finals behind Tokyo Olympic medalist William Shaner of the USA.
For someone who still new to the pressure, Rudrankksh Patil held his nerve during the final showdown.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, he said:
“I had no fear in my mind. I was a blank canvas ready to paint the picture according to the situation. I just tried to control my nerves and keep my focus on the game. I am very happy with the result. The hard work paid off. I give credit for the achievement to my parents and my coaches who supported me.”
Rudrankesh Patil is the elder of two sons of Balasaheb Patil, a deputy police commissioner, and Hemangini Patil, a deputy regional transport officer.
A resident of Hiranandani Meadows, Rudrankksh Patil trained at Dronacharya shooting range, run by Major Subhash Gawan.
He trained under coaches Snehal Papalkar and Ajit Patil. Interestingly, the teenager never wanted to be a rifle shooter. Instead, he originally planned to take up pistol or shotgun as his main event.
However, due to lack of shooting ranges, he had to consider the only option at his disposal. In hindsight, though he still likes pistol events, Rudrankksh Patil knows picking up the rifle was a good choice. He said:
“I really liked pistol or shotgun discipline. It is always fun to watch those events. But there was no facility for it near my place. So, I turned towards rifle training at the Dronacharya shooting academy. Snehal ma’am and Ajit sir have played an important role in helping me reach at this level,” he said.
Rudrankksh Patil's aim for 2022
Ruddrankksh Patil, who is also a state-level chess and skating player, now aspires to challenge the biggies in his events.
The men’s 10m air rifle is currently dominated by Tokyo Olympians Divyansh Singh Panwar, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (who also won gold and shattered the junior world record in Lima), Sandeep Singh and Deepak Kumar.
Ruddranksh Patil's father understands it will not be an easy task but has full faith in his son to make the cut for a spot in the senior team.
His junior national coach Deepak Dubey echoed Balasaheb and added:
“Rudrankksh has the ability to crack the top spot. He is very disciplined with his training and is a quick learner. At the range also, he remains very calm and composed,”
The teenager has now set his sights on the Asian and Commonwealth Games, scheduled to be held next year. He has chalked out his shortcomings from the junior worlds and started working on them.
“I lost focus during the very moment and lost the gold medal by 0.7 points. So, I will now work on how to stay focussed during crunch times despite distractions. There are some more flaws I figured out that I will work on. My aim is to win all the tournaments and make it to the team for CWG and Asian Games. For that I will have to put in more effort,” Rudrankksh Patil said.