Latest News on Sanjeev Rajput (Shooting) Biography, Profile, Photos and Videos
Justnewsday.com takes a quick look at experienced Indian rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput over the past two years, and charts his journey towards securing Olympic qualification.
Editor’s Note: For five years now, Indian athletes have been dreaming to make up for the disappointment of a two-medal haul in Rio. The span has been extraordinary, with COVID-19 having thrown their preparations – and the Olympics itself – off gear. However, in true Olympic spirit, the country’s finest sportspersons have battled form and uncertainty to put their best foot forward in what promises to be a Games like none other. In our latest series, we track the last two years’ performances of our athletes to give you a ready guide to their form leading into the biggest sporting spectacle of the world.
Experienced rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput will lead India’s charge in the men’s 50-metre 3P event at the Tokyo Olympics. With over 15 years of international shooting wisdom, including two Olympics appearances in 2008 and 2012, Rajput is a force to reckon with at the international stage.
The former navy man from Haryana’s Yamuna Nagar has never made to the finals in his twin Olympics but was a witness to history when Abhinav Bindra shot the epochal 10.8 to win India’s only individual gold medal till date. Rajput earned the quota for the 2016 Games as well, but NRAI decided to bolster the shotgun squad instead.
Rajput, the only Indian to win a 50-metre 3P World Cup gold, earned his fourth successive Olympics quota on 29 August, 2019 when he claimed a silver at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. Rajput was in sublime form in Rio as he dominated the qualifying with a score of 1181. On scores, he was tied with Changhing Zhang, but the Chinese entered the finals ranked ahead of Rajput on account of more 10s.
The Indian continued his fine form in the final, shooting a score of 462 to finish behind Croatia’s Peter Gorsa who shot 462.2 and win a silver.
Later that year, Rajput participated in the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Putian, China, where he missed the finals by a solitary point.
The year of pandemic
Quota secured, Rajput was supposed to finetune his skills ahead of the Olympics before COVID-19 intervened. The season-opening ISSF Shooting World Cup, supposed to be held in New Delhi, was postponed and later cancelled. Soon, the Olympics were postponed to 2021, and the entire shooting calendar became a non-starter as the virus swept the world.
Shooting camps resumed in the national capital at the end of 2020 leading up to the ISSF Shooting World Cup in March 2021 at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.
The Olympic year
Rajput eased into fine form for Tokyo Olympics with a qualifying score of 1172 in 50-metre 3P individual event in Delhi, topping a world-class field. However, he couldn’t repeat the performance in the finals, finishing sixth with a below-par score of 413.3. The consolation for India though was the gold medal of young Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar.
Rajput, however, roared back to form with a gold in mixed team category with seasoned Tejaswini Sawant. The experienced Indian duo defeated the Ukrainian pairing of Serhiy Kulish and Anna Ilina 31-29. Rajput didn’t start the final particularly well, but gradually eased into the groove. Sawant, meanwhile, was in excellent form and accounted for her teammate’s indifferent form.
Later, explaining his slow start, Rajput said, “I was having some problems in standing but our coach came and asked me to focus on my balance, then I could figure out that I was more focussed on foresight and front area instead of focusing on my body.When I immediately shifted my focus on my body I did well”
Rajput also termed the Olympics build-up as “the most important phase” of his life. “I have been to two Olympics in 2008 and 2012, nine years later it will be a very different Olympics, and it will be different for everyone. It will also be very important for everyone because it has never happened like this, Olympics after a gap of five years,” he said.
A few days later, he was named in the Tokyo-bound India squad and in April, the contingent left for Croatia for a final tune-up for the Games. The team will fly straight to Japan, and Rajput, in his third Olympics, will hope to be third-time lucky.
At the ISSF World Cup in June 2021, Rajput along with Tejaswini Sawant missed the bronze medal by a whisker in the 50m rifle 3 positions mixed team event, managing a combined score of 581 in qualification part two with 28 inner 10s, one less than fourth-placed Hungarian team of Eszter Meszaros and Istvan Peni.
Click here to check out form guides for the rest of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
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