75 years of independence, 75 iconic moments from Indian sports: No 12- Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore wins silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore kisses the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.   -  THE HINDU

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore wins silver in double trap at the 2004 Athens Games

It was the day that witnessed Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore providing the silver lining for Indian sports. Yes, that was his rank in the army then, before he went on to become a colonel and then the sports minister of the country. 

Unlike the other shotgun events, the double trap was a one-day competition with three rounds of 50, followed by the final 50 in the afternoon.

READ: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on his 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medal: In the zone

Rathore started the day with 46, the second-best total in the round. However, in the second round, the windy conditions teased him and he slipped to a 43, and the sixth place.

In the third round, Rathore shot 46, the third-best score in that round, in a small field of 25. Rathore had made the cut, with 135.

Rathore had avoided the shoot-off for the last spot which was contested by five, including the future Olympic champion Fehaid Aldeehani.

The race for the gold had looked done even before the final, as Shaikh Ahmed Almaktoum of the UAE led the field with 144, following three rounds of 48.

Rathore was flawless as he went through the first 30 with one miss when he enjoyed a four-point lead for the second place. Almaktoum did not miss one in the first 35, and sealed the gold after the 40th shot, with an unbeatable lead. Eventually, he had the gold with a 10-point margin.

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India's Rajyavardhan Rathore displays his country's flag as he stands on the podium after the men's double trap finals August 17, 2004, in Athens at the 2004 Summer Olympics.   -  AP

 

Rathore shot the last two pairs to capture the silver, one point ahead of Wang Zheng, and two ahead of Hu Binyuan and Hakan Dahlby. After his last shot, Rathore punched the air in celebration.

Raja Randhir Singh, the six-time Olympian and Asian Games trap gold medallist, gave away the medals. “I knew that he would do it. He was brilliant,” said Randhir.

“I am not specially happy that I have won the silver medal. I am happy that people will now believe that we can win silver medals in Olympic Games,” said Rathore, quite composed.

(Read the full article published in Sportstar on August 23, 2020)

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