Silver medal a morale booster for Rio: Mairaj Khan

Skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan said he was happy clinching a silver in his maiden final at Rio World Cup. On preparation for Olympics, he said: "It is 15 years of hard work that is getting me the results. I will continue to work hard and prepare well."

After a consistently superb performance in the qualification phase, semifinals and final, the 40-year-old Mairaj lost the gold in a shoot-off at Rio World Cup.

Gold could have been great, but silver was still very good for skeet shooter Mairaj Ahmad Khan as it was his maiden final in a World Cup, in Rio de Janeiro.

After a consistently superb performance in the qualification phase, semifinals and final, the 40-year-old Mairaj lost the gold in a shoot-off, as he had run short of his best ammunition.

‘’I borrowed ammo from a Greek shooter. When I shot the first clay, I felt a bit different. Saw the flash but forgot to pull the trigger in time for the second bird. I was thinking too much. There was nothing wrong with the ammunition. My concentration was not good. I should have believed in my technique, and let the ammo break the target,’’ said Mairaj, minutes before catching the flight to his training base in Italy on Monday.

Taking it as a healthy experience, Mairaj said that it was a learning process for him every day, and hoped that the good exposure would serve as a morale booster in the Olympics in Rio.

Mairaj dismissed that there would be any pressure on him when he returns to Rio for the Olympics in August. ‘’I start on zero in every competition, and am back to zero once again. There is no pressure. What I have done is history. Silver is over. That is my approach.

"It helps me. It is 15 years of hard work that is getting me the results. I will continue to work hard and prepare well’’, said Mairaj, quite grateful to all the authorities, government and federation for the excellent support.

He was particularly pleased with the quality of shooting and the careful choice of ammunition to tackle the hard targets. ‘’Believe me, it could have been 125 out of 125. I was shooting so well. The coach was happy’’, said Mairaj, even as he promised to maintain the tempo and stay tuned to solid preparation.

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