Teen prodigy Rudrankksh Patil’s journey to the Men’s 10m Air Rifle Gold at the ISSF World Championship at Cairo, Egypt on Friday in fact had started in May 2020 at the International Online Shooting Championship (IOSC).
The world had come to a standstill as the scourge of the pandemic created untold misery throughout the world.
It was in these times that former India shooter Shimon Sharif hit upon the innovative idea of staging online competitions and help shooters around the world get enough competition during the coronavirus-forced lockdown.
Patil, then 16, made his online competition debut in 10m Air Rifle at the IOSC and shot 252.9 in the final, 0.1 point more than the world record held by China’s Yu Haonan.
This was not the first time Rudrankksh surpassed the world mark. The youngster had scored 253.4 en route winning the youth trials that year.
Although Rudrankksh’s record wasn’t ratified as the ISSF considers only a select bunch of international competitions for that purpose, it was a delight for the viewers nonetheless watching it live on the Facebook page of indianshooting.com.
Since then, it has been steady progress and culminated in the gold on Friday, which made Rudrankksh only the second Indian after 2008 Beijing Olympic Champion Abhinav Bindra to pull off the feat.
Rudrankksh also secured a 2024 Paris Olympics quota for the country in the process.
However, the going in Cairo on Friday wasn’t a cakewalk for the Indian as he trailed Italy’s Danilo Dennis Sollazzo 4-10 in the gold medal match.
Sollazzo maintained the lead for the majority of the final but Rudrankksh made a stunning comeback to emerge winner 17-13.
Rudrankksh had topped the qualification with an amazing 633.9 and was assured of the quota after he entered the gold medal match along with Sollazzo.
India had earned their first quota at the Shotgun World Championship in Osijek, Croatia recently through Bhowneesh Mendiratta in Men’s Trap.
Four quota spots are available in Olympic events at the World Championship this year.