NEW DELHI, Sept 15 (PTI): He has just become the first Indian shooter to win five international medals in a calendar year but Jitu Rai remains hungry for more and wants to achieve as many podium finishes as possible in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 25-year-old Rai last week won an Olympic quota place with a silver medal at the ongoing World Championships in Granada, Spain, becoming the first Indian to do so.
�I have won the quota and a silver and I would really like to continue in same vein so that I can enter the Rio Olympics on a confident note. 2016 Olympic Games remains my ultimate target, so I do not want to relax one bit and will continue to work hard,� Rai told PTI after his career�s �biggest achievement�.
While he harbours hopes of tasting success in Olympics, the Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in Indian Army also has his eyes trained on the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon.
�Asian Games is also a huge multisport extravaganza and I would like to do well there, win a medal and bring laurels to the country,� he said a few hours before his departure for Incheon. Rai had come back from Spain on Saturday. �The competition is going to be high but I am pretty confident of finishing on the podium and continue the momentum,� he added.
Rai bagged the white metal in the men�s 50-metre pistol event at the at the CEAR Juan Carlos I shooting range. Talking about the moments before the event in Granada, Rai said he was upbeat after entering the finals.
�The qualifying rounds have many shooters from around the world, and all of them are good. But once I was in the final, I was confident of not just earning a quota but also a medal,� he said.
In his pet event, the top-4 shooters earned Olympic quota places. The Army marksman narrowly missed out on the gold medal to South Korean double Olympic champion and world record holder, Jin Jingoh, in a closely contested final. Jin shot a total of 192.3 over 20 shots in the finals while Jitu finished with a score of 191.1. Jitu, currently ranked fifth in the ISSF world rankings with a shooting average of 565, is having a dream year after having won the Commonwealth Games gold at Glasgow in July-August earlier this year. This is his fifth consecutive international medal in 2014.