Consistency is the greatest virtue a sportsperson aims for. Jitu Rai has scored a perfect 10 on that front. Fresh from his silver medal at the world championship 10 days back in Spain, Jitu stormed to gold in Incheon, making it six medals in-a-row in as many competitions in world shooting since June. Â (Day 1 Live Blog | Schedule | Medal Tally)
In Incheon on Saturday, Jitu, the world No. 5, qualified in seventh place for the final with a score of 559. World champion Jin Jingoh of Korea qualified in first place with 568. (Asian Games: Jitu Rai wins gold)
In the final, Jitu was in the hunt from the word go and stayed in touch with the leaders despite a shaky start. But the form, which has seen the 27-year-old dominate world shooting and rise to world No. 5 in 50m pistol, ensured he started to catch up with the best. He took the lead in the 19th shot and on the final shot, clinched the gold as Vietnam's Nguyen Hoang Phuong cracked under the pressure. Jitu held his nerve and a 8.4 clinched India's first gold of the 17th Asian Games. (Shweta Chaudhry wins India's first medal at Asian Games 2014)
A 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, Nepal-born Armyman Jitu has already won India a quota place for the 2016 Rio Olympics and this form puts him firmly in contention for an Olympic medal.
Elated about India's performance at the Asian Games 2014, Raninder Singh, president, National Rifle Association of India, who is currently in Spain with the national team for the world shooting championships said, "It's a great feeling to see Jitu Rai do it again. His consistency and hunger for more has helped him outclass the field very often.
"Jitu has earned the rare distinction in international shooting, for a single athlete to earn a medal for his country in every competition he has participated in this calendar year. He is truly a phenomenon and inspiration to our country and his team mates, and we hope that he earns many more laurels for us in the days to come."
This was India's second medal at the ongoing Asian Games after Shweta Chaudhry's bronze in the 10M air pistol event early on Saturday morning. Shweta, who had won silver in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, scored 176.4 in the final to clinch the bronze medal. Earlier in the day Shweta, ranked 46th in the world, took all by surprise as she finished fourth in the qualifying round with a score of 383.