Jitu Rai has become the first Indian shooter to qualify for the Rio De Janerio 2016 Summer Olympics after winning silver medal in the Men's 50m Pistol event at the 51st ISSF World Championship in Spain. The 25-year-old Rai narrowly lost out on gold to South Korean double Olympic champion and World Record holder Jin Jingoh in a closely contested final.
Jin shot a total of 192.3 over 20 shots in the final, while Jitu finished with a score of 191.1. Pang Wei of China, also an Olympic champion, finished third to settle for the bronze, while Hoang Xuan Vinh came in fourth to bag the last Olympic quota on offer.
Jitu, currently fifth in the ISSF world rankings, is having a dream year after having won the Commonwealth Games gold medal at Glasgow in July-August. This is his fifth consecutive international medal in 2014.
"Its an extremely proud moment for us to see Jitu Rai become the first Indian athlete in all Olympic events to qualify for the Rio Olympics. We were all very confident about the way Jitu has been shooting and he has repaid our faith in an emphatic manner. We hope that this is the beginning of many more such successes in the coming days," said Raninder Singh, the president of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist Gurpal Singh however shot 550/600 to finish 33rd while Om Prakash shot 548/600 to finish in 38th place in the 50m pistol event.
In other news of the Indian contingent, 2006 Trap World Champion Manavjit Sandhu continued his excellent start to the competition with two perfect rounds of 25 each. Manavjit has shot 100/100 in his four qualifying rounds.