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Shooter Jitu Rai retires from Army to focus on grooming youngsters

Born in the Sankhuwa Sabha district of Nepal, the 36-year-old Khel Ratna and Padma Shri awardee, was the only Indian shooter to win a gold at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, an achievement which helped him rise up the ranks to become Honorary Captain in the Army.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 12:00 IST

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New Delhi: Asian Games gold-medallist marksman Jitu Rai, who debunked the myth that a humble background can hinder success at the highest level, has decided to retire from the Indian Army to train young athletes to become world-class champions.

Born in the Sankhuwa Sabha district of Nepal, the 36-year-old Khel Ratna and Padma Shri awardee, was the only Indian shooter to win a gold at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, an achievement which helped him rise up the ranks to become Honorary Captain in the Army.

Rai, who served most of his 17-and-a-half-year tenure with 11 Gorkha Regiment in Lucknow, announced his retirement from the Army on social media.

"I am Hony Capt. Jitu Rai, SM,VSM, Olympian shooter, Padma Shree Awardee Dhayan Chan Khel Ratna Awardee and Arjun awardee. Would like to inform all that my journey of 17 years 6 months in Indian Army was completed on 1st July, 2024.

"The Army has given me more than what I deserved. I took this opportunity to thank all my senior officers, coaches, officials, colleagues and juniors who have helped me in every walk of life," Rai wrote on Facebook.

"I have always played for the nation and Army and I will continue to do the same through my experience sharing and coaching to the upcoming shooters. I will always carry discipline, dedication and faithfulness towards my nation taught by the Army throughout my career," Rai added.

Shooting academy in the pipeline

Rai, who competed at the Rio Olympics 2016 and finished last in the 10m air pistol final, further said he plans to open an academy in near future.

"I have taken retirement from the Army to make a foray into coaching. I will try to compete as much as I can but will also like to share my experiences with younger generation," Rai told PTI from Bagdogra in West Bengal.

"I plan to open a shooting academy though I have not decided the location. It would be wrong on my part if I don't share my shooting experiences. If I get the opportunity to be a part of the national coaching staff that would be great.

"I have also heard that the national shooting federation (NRAI) has also advertised for the post of high-performance coach, so I will apply. If they (federation) gives me the opportunity then I will be really happy," he said.

Besides the Asian Games gold in 50m pistol and bronze in 10m air pistol at Incheon, Rai also won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (2014) and Gold Coast (2018).

The World Championships silver-medallist in 2014 Granada also has two World Cup gold medals in Maribor and New Delhi.

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Published 06 July 2024, 12:00 IST

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