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Interview with Jitu Rai

Interview with Jitu Rai

Interview with Jitu Rai

OGQ spoke to the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion about his preparations on the Road to Rio 2016

Q. You were the first Indian to win a quota for Rio Olympics. How did it feel when you won the quota at the world championships in 2014?

Jitu: I was feeling the pressure at the world championship as it was the first Olympic qualification event. I had planned how I would play the final and at the end I was very happy when I won the quota for India at the very first opportunity and with it a silver medal as well.

Q. Take us through your early days in Shooting. How did you come into shooting?

Jitu: In 2007 I joined the Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army. Actually I was not too interested in shooting. I had never even seen anyone shooting. Army coach GR Garbaraj Rai "ne danda laga ke karaya shooting". I am really grateful to him today. The first gun I used was a 9mm pistol. In 2009, I went to the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow where I was not selected in the army team and was sent back to my Lucknow unit. After that setback, I worked very hard day in day out to improve my skills in the 10m air pistol event. I started free pistol only in 2013 and I am very glad that I won a quota in free pistol in 2014.


Q. What is your plan in the lead up to the Rio Olympics. Have you changed anything in your training?

Jitu: No I haven’t changed anything since 2014 be it my approach to a match, technical training or physical fitness. I don’t think that I need to train abroad or under a foreign coach or do things differently. I analyse my game myself and plan out the training schedule. I really like to believe in myself and trust the way I train. I am happy with the way my training is going on at the moment. The Indian Army and OGQ have played a very important role in my training. At OGQ, whatever I ask for related to my training, I get only one answer ‘Jitu ho jayega’.



Q. How do you relax and unwind?

Jitu: My way of relaxing is a bit strange. Whenever I take rest I don’t feel relaxed, it is very tough for me when my coach tells me to take rest for a day or two. I am very relaxed and get good sleep only when I do my physical fitness properly.



Q. Tell us about your family and your native place in Nepal.


Jitu: I hail from a middle class family. My village is in the middle of a forest. I was born and bought up in that forest. My father used to do farming before he joined the army. My father passed away 9 years ago and after that I joined the Army. It was then I thought to myself that I must do something big for my family. My mother was not aware that I was in the Indian shooting team and was winning medals for India till the time she came to New Delhi when I got the prestigious Arjuna Award last year. I am really happy that I have made a career for myself in shooting.



Q. Who is your favorite athlete? favorite Bollywood actor/actress?

Jitu: My favorite player is a volleyball player from my village as he was the first sportsperson I knew and I love playing volleyball as well. My favorite shooter is London Olympic Silver medalist Vijay Kumar. He has guided me a lot in my journey till now. I don’t have one favorite actress because I like everyone (laughs) but my favorite actor is Aamir Khan.

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