Shooter Sodhi eyeing medal at World Cup Final

September 25th, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) Putting behind the disappointment of not representing India at the Beijing Olympics, double trap shooter Ronjan Singh Sodhi will aim his gun for a medal at the shooting World Cup Final at Minsk in Belarus Saturday.The world No.10 is satisfied with his preparation for the event and is well aware of the challenges ahead.

“The top 12 shooters of the world will take part in this tournament. It is a tough field but I am in good shape and eying a medal. It will be a learning experience for me,” Sodhi told IANS from Minsk.

The field comprises top eight shooters of 2008, three Olympic medallist and last year’s World Cup Finals gold medal winner.

Sodhi was world No.5 during the Olympics, courtesy his gold in the Belgrade World Cup in June. He also created two world records en route to his gold.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) tried to arrange a hardship quota for Sodhi so that India could have two double trap shooters at Beijing. But with nine shooters already qualified for the Olympics, the NRAI’s efforts proved futile. Athens silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore was the only Indian in the double trap event and his Beijing campaign turned out to be a disaster.

“It was a disappointment for me (not competing in Beijing) but and I had myself to blame because I could not win Olympic quota on time. When the Olympics came I was in good form and world No.5. So if I was there I could have hoped a medal. But that is past and I feel my journey has just started,” he said.

Sodhi’s ranking has dropped from world No.5 to 10 because he did not participate in the Olympics. The World Cup final is his first tournament after the Belgrade World Cup.

“Olympic participation fetches you a lot of ranking points. But ranking is not a concern for me. I had a good practice in Lonato (Italy) and it will stand me in good stead for the World Cup,” he said.

Sodhi, who is now seen as India’s rising star in double trap, feels that India’s bench-strength in shooting is getting better everyday.

“If it was Rathore at Athens then it was Abhinav (Bindra) in Beijing. So one has to accept that Indian shooting is becoming stronger everyday. We shouldn’t write off Rathore. He is a great shooter and showed us the way,” he said.

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