New Delhi: World Championship silver medal winner shooter Jitu Rai is in awe of the upcoming and sensational Saurabh Chaudhary. Jitu Rai feels that Chaudhary has it in him to humble one of the sport’s all-time greats, South Korean Jin Jong-Oh, in the Tokyo Olympics. Jin is one of the most successful individual shooters at the Summer Olympics. He has won a record-breaking six medals, including four gold. Rai is also backing the industrious Yashaswini Singh Deswal and the extremely talented Manu Bhaker to ‘do something good’ at Tokyo.
“Saurabh Chaudhary is something else. I have seen him shoot and it’s not just about the medals he is winning. He is actually winning them with very high scores. And it’s no surprise that he is holding the world record at the moment,” Rai said Monday.
In terms of form, wins and records, Chaudhary is to the Indian shooting contingent ahead of the Tokyo Games, what Rai was to the group that competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Reminded about that, Rai, who has got the better of Jin Jong-Oh in the past, said Chaudhary is different.
“You just need to look at the scores he registers. It is amazing how he does that so regularly and so well. I may have also won a lot of medals international competitions but you can see that Chaudhary’s scores are higher than what I was shooting,” Rai pointed out.
“In Tokyo, if he scores 582-583 in the qualifications, 99 per cent he is going to make the finals. He can score more than that. He is surely one of the biggest prospects in the 10m air pistol event,” the modest shooter, who is now eyeing the 2024 Paris Olympics after missing out on the current Games, said.
Having trained and competed with him in the past, Rai knows a thing or two about Chaudhary. “He is quiet and reserved, fully focussed on the job at hand. He should win it (gold) in Tokyo,” Rai added.
Regarding Yashaswini, who will represent India in the women’s 10m air pistol, along with Manu, Rai pointed out that the Chandigarh-based shooter is one of the most hardworking he has seen in the sport.
“I remember there was once a camp in Germany and she would train there till evening. She used to have her lunch at the range and used the dining table to rest in the afternoon, even as we would be in the hotel preparing to go for our meal,” Rai informed.
“Again, during a camp in Delhi, I saw her practising three-four rounds of qualifications at a stretch, which is beyond me. So that is the kind of dedication she has, and an Olympic medal will be an apt reward for such labour,” Rai added.