Luck continued to desert the Indian shooters on day five of the Rio Olympic Games with big medal hope Jitu Rai crashing out of his pet 50m pistol event without making the final.
Rai, winner of the gold medal in the same event in both the Commonwealth and Asian Games two years ago, fell just two points short of making the cut for the finals. He eventually ended up 12th with a total score of 554 (92,95,90,94,95,88).
“I have no problem that I didn’t make it. I feel bad for others that I let the country down. Everyone had faith in me that I would win the Olympic medal. The Army had supported me so well. I tried my best,” said Jitu Rai.
The 28-year-old Indian army shooter, thus, would return empty-handed from the Rio range after finishing eighth in the 10m event earlier.
“I tried my best and was not under pressure but I don’t know what happened in the last series. Maybe I was not lucky enough,” Rai added.
Multiple medallist at the ISSF World Cup, World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, Jitu started the 50m pistol qualification with 91 and fired 95 in the second series.
Scores of 90 and 94 were followed by another 95, including four 10s, in the fifth series that propelled him to the fourth position at the completion of the series.
However, the Army man botched things up completely in the final series that included two eights, which left him way behind in the pecking order. Not his usual self, a final effort of 10 was not enough for Jitu to avoid elimination in his maiden Olympics.
“Now I get the knowledge of an Olympic event. I can start preparing accordingly. I want to utilise this knowledge ahead,” Rai said. “You can’t say in shooting…You may go up and down. It’s a mental game and not a physical game unlike others.”
He said he would have to start afresh and look ahead. “I should not lose heart and look ahead. I will practice hard and keep fighting.”
It was a disappointing first Olympics for Nanjappa too who could only score 547 (85,90,91,93,95,93) to fininsh 25th out of 41 shooters.