Jitu Rai breaks through the pain barrier

The 28-year-old Army shooter is still recovering from a serious injury on his right palm and is also suffering from abdominal pain. However, no exception was made and Rai was not exempted from participating in the national championship.

Jitu Rai shot a series of 92, 91, 94, 92, 95 and 95 to lead the field in the men’s free pistol event.   -  PTI

Asian Games gold medallist and World Championship silver medallist Jitu Rai battled debilitating physical condition to lead the men’s free pistol event with a score of 559 in the 59th National shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range in Tughlakabad, on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Army shooter is still recovering from a serious injury on his right palm and is also suffering from abdominal pain. However, no exception was made and Rai was not exempted from participating in the national championship.

“I am able to manage the palm injury, but the injury on the other side of the palm is very painful. I had to be on intravenous dose of glucose for a fortnight because of the stone in the bladder. I tried to cycle to gain strength but the mobile phone got stuck in the brake while I was turning and my right hand was full of blood when I fell. I thought that I had broken my hand,” Jitu said.

Jitu shot a series of 92, 91, 94, 92, 95 and 95 to surprise the rest of the field in which Omkar Singh (556), Prakash Nanjappa (551), Amit Kumar Pilaniya (550), Om Prakash (549) followed him at the top, with more left to shoot their qualification match, before the final.

Meanwhile, in the women’s 25-metre sports pistol, Olympian and World Cup gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat, who has been battling indifferent form in recent times, led the field with a score of 290 out of 300 at the halfway stage after the precision series.

Gauri Sheoran (289), Shweta Singh (289), P Shri Nivetha (288), Annu Raj Singh (288), Shilpi Bisht (287), former national champion Anita Devi (286), Divyanshi Rana (286), and Harveen Srao (285) followed in that order, while Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anisa Sayyed was a bit away on 284, before the rapid fire series, which will be followed by the knock-out phase on Thursday.

While Shri Nivetha managed to reach from Tamil Nadu, the organisers assured that the shooters like Sandhya Winfred, who were stuck in Chennai, would be given the chance to compete whenever they reach the venue.

In men’s air pistol, in which there was a whopping 1244 entries including the juniors and youth, there will be 18 batches of qualification rounds before the final.