After spectacularly crashing out of the Rio Olympics two year ago, Jitu Rai returned to winning ways by snapping up the gold medal and the Commonwealth Games record in the men’s 10m Air Pistol at the Belmont Shooting Centre . His compatriot Om Mitharval, 22, equalled the qualification games record but failed to convert his form into a gold in the finals. He will, however, return home with a bronze.
Rai, who finished fourth in qualifying behind Mitharval, started off strongly with a score of 49.7 in the first series. He finished stage 1 on top with a score of 100.4. In the elimination stage, Rai held his nerve and fired a series of 10+ pointers. At no stage was he trailing in the elimination. Despite Mitharval leading Australian shooter Kerry Bell during most of the event, he was knocked out after shooting a 8.4 in the last but one series. He finished the event with a score of 214.3. In the last series, it was between Rai and Bell for the gold. Rai shot a 9.2 and 9.2 in his two attempts while Bell shot a 9.6 and 8.6. Rai’s total score of 235.1 was enough for him to claim the Commonwealth Games record while Bell settled for the silver.
India has so far won eight gold medals, three silver and four bronze at the 21st Commonwealth Games. Jitu Rai’s win helped India take back the third spot from Canada in the overall medal tally.