Rio de Janeiro : “I let my country down. There was wind but I don’t want to make any excuses,” a dejected Jitu Rai told reporters after finishing 12th at the 50m Pistol Men’s event in the qualification round at the Olympic Shooting centre here.
The armyman consistently managed to hit the bull’s eye on nine occasions in what is considered as his pet event and his cumulative scores after the six series qualification round read 92, 95, 90, 94, 95 and 88 to total 554. But a poor sixth and final series cost him the berth to the finals.
He has never scored a low of 88 in any championship. Last four scores at Rio were 8, 8, 7 and 10. The three low scores took away his entry into the finals, although in the earlier series he had consistently scored highs, remaining in the top eight throughout. Only eight shooters go through to the finals.
After his last series, and the disastrous scores, Jitu Rai came and sat down in the chair behind, as if he had been hit. He perhaps couldn’t believe that he had botched it up in just three shots out of a total of 60.
National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh on Wednesday termed shooter Jitu Rai’s elimination from the ongoing Rio Olympics as “shocking”.
“I am absolutely surprised. I don’t know what to say. I have never seen Jitu Rai shoot like this in the closing minute. Perhaps he totally misread the wind. I can understand one shot going awry. But three? This is totally out of the blue. He was doing so well in the other series. To get 88 in the last one is unheard of from him,” Singh said.
“We had two great medal hopes, Bindra and Rai. And both have disappointed. It’s really disheartening to see them in a touch and go position. Bindra’s medal slipped out of our hands, and Jitu’s shooting in the last few shots were absolutely inexplicable,” he said.