New Shooting Star of India- ‘JITU RAI’

jitu rai shooting

Shooting is one sport where India is always hopeful of medals in International competitions. Naturally, the Rio Olympics is not new in this aspect.  We have high hopes from our shooters to bring laurels to our nation. From Abhinav Bindra to Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar, India has seen some world class shooters. This time around, Jitu Rai is creating a lot of buzz. He is making his debut in the Quadrennial event and we all have high hopes from him.

Jitu’s Character and Our expectations from him

Jitu Rai is known to be a man for big occasions. He is well equipped with the pressure of the game and surely knows how to keep his nerves calm in crunch situations. Rai is world number 2 in the 50m Pistol category, his favorite event where he has pocketed many medals internationally.

The Nepal born shooter realized his passion for shooting when he decided to move to India after his father’s death and got himself admitted to the Indian Army.  While, training in Lucknow in the Gorkha Regiment, he thought of taking shooting as a profession and never looked back since then.

But not everything was as easy as it seems. Jitu has had his shares of failures in life. He first made to the Indian Army’s shooting squad in 2011, but had to be sent back to his unit because of poor performance. He turned defeat into success with his sheer hard work and never say die attitude.

 

JITU RAI”S ACHEIVEMENTS

After trying harder day by day, Jitu Finally tasted success in the 2014 which has proved to the best year in his career so far. The 29 year old won 3 medals in 9 days at the 2014 World Cup. He first captured the Silver Medal in the 10m air pistol event and followed it up with two medals in Maribor. He fetched silver medal in the 50m pistol event and pocketed the Gold Medal in the 10m air pistol.

The Marksman scripted history after he became the first person to win two medals at a Single World Cup for India. Not only that, he also achieved the Numero Uno ranking in the world in the 10m air pistol.

In the same year, during the Common Wealth Games, Jitu continued his superlative form and not only did he created the Games record in the qualification round of the 50m pistol event, but also won the Gold Medal in the same event.

His form continued in the Asian Games as he won two medals in the competitions, one being the Gold.

His Silver medal performance at the 2016 world cup has vested our faith that this Marksman will have a memorable debut Olympics.

 

 

India’s Gymnastics hope- DIPA KARMARKAR

As a sports lover, you come across many sports.. Gymnastics is one of them. It is extremely challenging yet very interesting to watch. The balance, the poise and the Elegance with which artistic gymnasts perform is worth watching.

During my younger days, I was  always glued to the television whenever I saw Russian teenagers performing dangerous yet jaw dropping stunts on a bar…( Yup, that’s what I used to call them.. Stunts on a bar and wondered whether these ladies had bones or not). Now that I know we have a representative in this sport, I am even more attracted towards it…
In my series of introducing debutants from India to Rio, I want to throw some light on a young yet ever talented DIPA KARMARKAR .

Dipa-Karmakar

Know her more

The 22 year old created history by becoming the first Indian female gymnast to book a place for Olympics. Not only that, she clinched gold medal at the test event of the Rio Games. She scored 14.833 in her first attempt. Her second attempt score was equally impressive. She scored 14.566.  Dipa will also be first in 52 years to represent India in the sport. Since our independence, only 11 Indian male gymnasts have taken part in the Olympics.

When you look at her, she seems normal and is for sure has a next door girl image. But we all love next door girl, right??

Born in a humble family, Dipa got into Gymnastics when she was just 6 years old. Since then, she has been coached by Veteran Bisbeshwar Nandi.

But do you know a secret? Karmarkar had a “FLAT FOOT”which naturally was not idle for a gymnast. She and her coach had to work extremely hard to bring about curves in her feet. As they say when the tough gets going, the going gets tough and Dipa slowly but steadily got the grip she wanted and gave everything in her arsenal to achieve the feat she has.

Some of her achievements in her past have been a Bronze Medal win at the Asian Gymnastics Championships and a 5th place finish at the 2015 world Artistic Gymnastics which. Both were a first for India.

Having achieved so much in such a short span is not the only thing that makes Dipa Special. Her mastering of Produnova vault in competition has made everybody hook to her as well.. Only 5 women in the history have been able to do so till now.

For those who are not well versed with gymnastics’ Terminology, Produnova is the vault which consists of a front handspring and two front sommersaults with a frontal landing. The vault currently has a 7.0 difficult score. When you learn that out of 5 women in the world, one is Indian gives me goose bumps.

Let us hope that Dipa Karmarkar repeats her feat and makes the nation proud in the upcoming Rio Olympics.

In my next post, I will be introducing you all to another Debutant.

 

Making Big at Rio…. For The First Time

Ever since, Indian ace shooter Abhinav Bindra won that epic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10 m Air rifle event, my interest in Olympics has grown even more. I soo remember the day when our National Anthem was being played at the Medal ceremony 8 years back.  What a proud moment that was… Then came the 2012 London Olympics where there was no gold medal won  but the Indian contingent mustered its best performance ever finishing with the total of  6 medals including  2 silver and 4 bronze..

It is that time again… 2016.. Rio Olympics… India this time around is sending its largest contingent ever at the mega event. 121 athletes will be gunning for the laurels. Some old faces….Some new, everyone is geared up for the event… But the question is can India better its previous record. And who will be the contenders on which all the eye balls will be set. Here, I am trying to asses some of the debutant who according to me need as much as attention as others… New Faces I believe are the dark horses and can yield results because they can play freely, without much tension or pressure.

I am by no means an expert or an astrologer (I guess that’s quite obvious) but I am still going to write about my view and players to look out for, for the Rio Olympics in short series that will follow.

Today, I am trying to explore the talents and expectations from AVTAR SINGH, the JUDOKA ..

The stage is set… the countdown has begun and now leaving all the negativity and controversy behind that led up to the Olympics, we should look at the brighter side…

AVTAR SINGH, JUDO

Judo Avtar

If you have a mischief kid or as they say Naughty kid, send him/her to judo classes and who knows one day you/ your kid can also represent India in the category..Well, at least for Avtar Singh that’s what exactly happened. His parents were sick and tired of his hyper activities during childhood and one day they decided to send him to Judo classes to distract his mind and to tire him … 24 Years later,  Avtar Singh from  Punjab became the first player since Akram Shah (2004) to represent India in Judo at Olympics.

He is also the only contender in Judo from our country.

But the grass always looks greener on the other side. Avtar and his family had to struggle a lot to reach to the place where he is today. The very fact that his parents had to break their fixed deposit to afford his ticket to Turkey to compete, says it all. The financial constraints also meant that Avtar was not able to participate in many tournaments.. He competed in just 6 events from 2015 until May 2016. But that did not let him lose his focus or determination; in fact it did the opposite. With his sheer hard work and perseverance, Avtar kept on improving his game and gained enough points to bag a quota in the 90kg to qualify for Rio Olympics. He won the Gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games. (Indeed a memorable win and an incredible moment!) The consistent performance throughout the year helped him reach the world ranking 79th, which was enough for him to confirm his ticket to Rio.  But he is not just happy to be able to go to Rio but is also thinking about winning a medal.  It is not going to be an easy task for Avtar, but all eyes (Especially mine) will be glued to him.

In the next part, I will introduce you all to another debutant, Jitu Rai (Shooting). Stay Tuned for more..

 

S for Serena… S for Supreme … W for Williams .. W for winner

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When Serena Williams and Angleque Kerber stepped onto the center court of Wimbledon, the common thread between them was the lady I have admired, got inspiration from and certainly in head over heals with- STEFI GRAF ..

If one was trying to equal the record of the German’s great 22 Grand Slams in open era, than the other was trying to become the first German since Graf to capture the coveted title of Wimbledon.

Now if you ask me honestly, ( Sorry to all the Serena fans..) I do not want whatsoever any one EVER… to beat or come close to Graf’s achievements. ( I guess that’s what is considered to be an obsessive fan.. hmmm… ) Anyways, So my heart was with Kerber and my head with Williams. After failing to achieve the feat on two occasions ( First in Australian open where she was beaten by Angleque Kerber  and than on the red clay , where she was defeated by Garbiñe Muguruza) , the younger Williams was a dominant force which Kerber this time failed to stop despite putting up a brave fight.. So there she was SERENA WILLIAMS, the proud Wimbledon champion for the 7th time ( Again equally the number of Wimbledon titles  held by Steffi Graf )… The proud 22 major holder.( Finally the burden was off her shoulder).

That got me thinking, for the past decade or so, Serena has been dominating the women’s tennis circuit.  If you look at the records of Major winners who are still playing, Serena has 22 Grand Slams and the lady that stands second to her is none other than her elder sister Venus Williams who has 7. ( THE WILLIAMS POWER). The podium is completed by Russian star Maria Sharapova who has 5 (and now is banned for taking performance enhancing drugs). The other champions include Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova , Svetlana Kuznetsova who have two majors each. The difference in the win clearly shows that the younger Williams is a force to reckon with. Some pundits have claimed that such is the dominance of Serena that it’s making women’s tennis boring. ( I honestly have a 50-50 opinion on this.)

Some of the Records held by Serena Williams-

You name the record and she has it.. She is the only tennis player – female or male – to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. She is also the only tennis player to have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two separate decades. She has won an all-time record 12 Grand Slam singles titles on hardcourt. Williams also holds the Open Era record for most titles at the Australian Open (which she has won it 6 times). She is at the moment second in all time Grand Slams champion’s list behind the great Margart Court who has 24 ..Etc etc etc….

Her contemporaries are far behind her in almost all aspects.  At her best, she is unbeatable. Her opponents come onto the court just to increase the duration of defeat.  See some of the matches she has played recently in Grand Slams and you will know what I am talking about. In her initial round matches, where her opponents were happy and celebrating a “game’ win like they have won the match. That’s the kind of power she has.

Bagels, Double bagels and breadsticks have been her norms of winning.

Her Strengths

Tennis as we all know requires physical strength and Physical fitness as much as mental strength and mental fitness. Serena is a supreme example of both. Her court coverage, her ferocious serve, her timing of volleying during a match and the ability to hold her nerves on crunch situations says it all.

she is 34 years old but plays  like a 19 year old giving her opponents a run for their money. Believe it or not, She has won 9 majors since turning 30. Talk about money, She became the highest paid female athlete in 2016 after earning around $30 million in prize money and endorsements.

Her Struggles

But her life has not always been like that. As she herself says she is a fighter and a survivor, her life is a living example of it. From facing racial discrimination and being bullied by her tennis prodigies during her childhood to losing one of her sister in an attack and facing a life threatening injury some years back that almost forced her to quit the game, Serena Williams not doubt has come triumphant and beaten all odds. Off court she is a trend setter (with her choices of attires and sometimes her emotions and grunts while playing) and on court she is an inspiration to many. She has dominated the women’s tennis for more than a decade now and continues to do the same. Having said that she is a human at the end of day, despite of her saying many times that she is now not thinking about concurring the number 24, we all know she is and we hope she does… Because she is a true champion and deserves all the accolades and achievements.

Vijender – The winner

Ok! So, here I sat after much persuasion from my husband to start a blog. My first attempt at blogging that too on a subject which does not come under my comfort zone but the MAN surely does… Believe it or not, Indian ace boxer Vijender Singh was the reason that I began to take interest in boxing. From taking the Bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics to becoming the Asia Pacific Super Middleweight Champion,  from boyhood to man hood, Vjiu has come a long way. His career for sure was not always a smooth sailing; he has had his shares of ups and downs. Who can forget the fiasco and raised eyebrows of so many people when the Bhiwani lad first decided to begin his professional journey.   He ended his amateur career in July last year by signing up with the UK-based Queensberry Promotions, but that was delayed around three months due to a tussle with his employers, Haryana police. Since then, there has been no looking back for the 30 year old.

He walked onto the ring (having sheer determination in his eyes) to win his first pro title, and what win that was.. His 7th consecutive win came against Kerry hope, an opponent who was far experienced than him.

I am not gonna lie, I watched his bout on Tv from home and did not go to the Thyagraj stadium, but I just loved every bit of it. The Vociferous crowd and Celebrities presence on the occasion reminded me the fight between Many Pacquao and Mayweather that happened a while ago.

He won the fight in the 10th round 296-274 on unanimous decision. The worth mentioning thing here is that he had earlier won his entire 6 bout on knockouts.

Well, the title is start for him and has surely popularized the Professional Boxing  in India .He is an inspiration and continues to do so .