In his first international event after the disappointing showing at the Rio Olympics, Jitu Rai made a comeback in style by winning the silver medal in the 50m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup final in Bologna, Italy.
Jitu Rai comes up with a great performance going to the final in Bologna. Well done ! Also goes to show the Olympic Games another ballgame— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) October 6, 2016
Jitu finished the event with a total score of 188.8, behind China's Wei Pang, who pipped the Khel Ratna awardee by just over two points, with a score 190.6
Jitu qualified for final with a 2nd place finish in the qualifying round.
Congratulations to Jitu Rai. He needs to plan his next four year cycle meticulously .— Abhinav Bindra (@Abhinav_Bindra) October 6, 2016
The result comes a day after the Abhinav Bindra-led review committee filed it's report to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), on what went wrong at the Olympics for the 12 shooters who returned from Rio without a medal. The report had this to say about Jitu's performance at Rio:
If there was one shooter who evoked maximum confidence of winning a medal it was this Army lad. The committee feels that the foreign coach Pavel Smirnov did not have the expert in the precision event to help Jitu Rai win an Olympic medal. Rai's admission of his inability to find a working relationship put the shooter in a precarious position of coming up with his own training plans. The lack of expertise for the best shooter in India despite no dearth of facilities and support from the Army further highlights the lack of proper planning. His extraordinary talent was taken for granted to deliver an Olympic medal. Any level of talent is irrelevant without correct preparations for the Olympics.
This silver medal will hopefully be a shot in the arm for the Nepal-born shooter as he prepares for his comeback at Tokyo 2020.