Jitu Rai, 29, is possibly India’s biggest medal hope in the shooting event at the Rio 2016 Olympics. The Army shooter has risen immensely in the sport since starting off in 2007. This gets even more surprising given the fact he was farming in eastern Nepal in 2006. Hailing from Sankhuwasabha in Nepal, Jitu applied to join the British Army at 20 but before their decision could up, he was instated in the Indian Army and moved base across the border. Now he’s part of the 11 Gorkha Rifles as a Naib-Subedar. On the shooting front, he wasn’t all that interested when he joined the army. In fact, he tried to get out of it but gradually Rai noticed he was good at it. Even then, it took two attempts for him to become a permanent fixture at the renowned Army Marksman Unit in Mhau. He is currently ranked second in the world in 50m pistol and third in 10m air pistol events.
Career Highlights: Jitu Rai has had a tremendous past few years even though he has been plagued with injuries in the last year and the inability to convert good starts into medal finishes. Despite that, the marksman has bagged gold medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and at the Incheon Asian Games in 50m pistol event. This year Jitu’s won the silver medal in the 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan. And the yellow metal at the ISSF World Cup in Bangkok in 50m pistol.
Record: At big events, Jitu Rai won gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Olympics next?
Qualification: Jitu was the first shooter to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics after a silver medal at the 51st Shooting World Championships in Spain.
Event: Men’s 10m air pistol and 50m pistol
Schedule: August 6 (10m air pistol) and August 10 (50m pistol)