New Delhi: Athens Games silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who won the double trap bronze in the nationals on Wednesday, said given a chance he would prove himself again in the 2012 London Olympics. (Agencies)
"It has been tough for me in the last three years. But I have come back strongly in the last few months. If I get a chance in the Olympics I can prove myself again," Rathore said at the Karni Singh Shooting Range.
Despite failing to book an Olympic quota, Rathore still has a chance to qualify for London if he does well in the forthcoming two trials, in Delhi and Patiala, as the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) may trade one of the 11 Olympic quotas to include the double trap exponent in the side. The score at the nationals will also be compared. The final squad will be announced February 18.
The bronze will stand in good stead for the Army officer, who shot a total of 182 (137 qualifying, 45 final). The gold went to Haryana's Ajay Mittal, who shot 185 (138 qualifying, 47 final), while local boy Sangram Dahiya bagged the silver with a total score of 183 (137 qualifying, 46 final). World No. 2 Ronjan Sodhi, who booked an Olympic quota, finished fourth with a total score of 181 (138 qualifying, 43 final).
Asked about his Olympic chances, Rathore said: "Today I was happy with the way I fought. I didn't give up even till the last shot. I have to back myself and I feel I have been shooting well. But the decision to include me is purely in the hands of the selectors. And if they pick me I won't disappoint them."
Rathore said it was tough to motivate himself after his poor performance in the 2008 Beijing Games, where he failed to qualify for the final round. He took an year off in 2009 and when he came back in 2010 he had his share of problems with the NRAI over selection issues and was axed from the squad for the Commonwealth and the Asian Games.
"It was tough to motivate myself in the last few years. But I always believed that I still have it in me to do it again. I have another one or two years left in me and I want to go out on a high note," said Rathore.
Rathore came back strongly last year by equalling the world record en route to his gold in the Asian Shotgun Championship in Kuala Lumpur in November and last month missed the Olympic quota by a whisker in tough windy conditions in the Asian Championships in Doha, which was the last qualifying event for the Olympics.
"Equalling the world record was the much needed boost. I was hopeful in Doha but conditions were really tough," he said.
Shotgun coach Marcello Dradi said Rathore deserves a place in the Olympic squad.
"Rathore is a world class shooter and I think by having him in the squad India will have more chances of winning an Olympic medal. I want him in the squad but the final decision is in the hands of the selectors," he said.
Chief coach Sunny Thomas, who is part of the selection committee, said Rathore can qualify if he can impress the selectors in the two trials.
"Rathore has done well in recent times. And if he does well in the trials then we may barter one of the quota places for Rathore. But he has to perform exceptionally well in the trials," he said.
New Delhi: Athens Games silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who won the double trap bronze in the nationals on Wednesday, said given a chance he would prove himself again in the 2012 London Olympics.