Jitu Rai might was one of the biggest disappointments for India in the Rio Olympics, failing to win any medal when he was a strong contender. But India's ace shooter kept all those behind him in the ISSF World Cup, finishing with silver in Italy.
The Army man looked brilliant in the qualifying rounds, and from there on, he gathered huge confidence to shine in the finals of the 50m Pistol event. Jitu, who looked below par in the Olympics, shot 188.8 to help him win silver.
Despite his brilliant score, he was outdone by China's Wei Pang, who scored 190.6 to clinch gold. The Chinese shooter was in his own league, but such performances will help clean the dark wounds of Rio Olympics.
Though the race for the first and second position was quite close, Italy's Giuseppe Giordano, who finished third, did not give a tough time to Jitu. The Italian's score read 170.3 in the final.
It is unfortunate that the ace India shooter could not deliver at the biggest stage of all – Rio Olympics – but this World Cup medal performance does not come as a huge surprise.
Jitu, in the past, has won a number of meals in 50 m Pistol event. In 2014, he was in an incredible form, winning silver in World Championships and World Cup. Besides that the shooter also won gold in the 2014 Asian Games and 2014 Commonwealth Games. So his silver medal finish in Italy comes as no surprise.
Abhinav Bindra, who had bagged gold in 2008 Olympic Games, wants Jitu to have a clear plan for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
"Congratulations to Jitu Rai. He needs to plan his next four year cycle meticulously. Jitu Rai comes up with a great performance going to the final in Bologna. Well done ! Also goes to show the Olympic Games another ballgame," Bindra wrote on Twitter.
Congratulations to Jitu Rai. He needs to plan his next four year cycle meticulously .— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) October 6, 2016
Jitu Rai comes up with a great performance going to the final in Bologna. Well done ! Also goes to show the Olympic Games another ballgame— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) October 6, 2016