Jitu Rai to train in Rio one year before Olympics
Mumbai: Ace pistol shooter Jitu Rai is to train as well as compete in shooting events at Rio de Janeiro in the middle of August this year as he prepares to take a shot at a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“I will be going to Rio one year before the Olympics, around August 15-16, for training cum competition. This will help me to get a feel of the Olympic range,” the 50m pistol gold medal winner at last year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games told reporters here today.
The Nepal-born army shooter’s trip to Rio is being supported by Olympic Gold Quest, the not-for-profit organisation jointly founded by cue ace Geet Sethi and badminton great Prakash Padukone.
Rai, who has already earned a quota place in the Rio Games scheduled from August 5-21, 2016, is all set to take part in four World Cups as well as train overseas in the run-up to the Olympics.
Suspended woman boxer Sarita Devi, who is also supported by OGQ, thanked them for helping her in recovering from the wrist injury sustained last year at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland where she won a silver medal in the 60kg class.
“I am indebted to OGQ for the support they have given me. I underwent a surgery at the Leelavati hospital here (on November 14th) and have recovered now (with removal of the wire inserted on December 29).
“I will start to train now for the Rio Games and my entire focus is to win the gold medal there and prove myself,” said Manipur-born Sarita who is serving a one-year ban imposed by world body AIBA for rejecting her bronze medal at the Incheon Asian Games medal ceremony last year.
Sarita, who had controversially lost to a Korean boxer in the semi finals of the Incheon Asian Games, has the Asian Championship and the World Championship next year to qualify for the Rio Games, according to OGQ’s CEO Viren Rasquinha.
“She has promised us that she will be the fittest among all boxers of the world in the 60kg class,” Rasquinha said.
Sarita and Rai also interacted with nine-time world billiards champion Sethi and four-time world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand, one of the directors of OGQ Board, on the mental aspects.