New Delhi: It was a case of third time lucky for ace trap shooter Ronjon Sodhi, who said the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the country`s highest honour for a sportsperson, will only motivate him to achieve greater laurels for the country in future competitions.
Sodhi, the first Indian to win back-to-back World Cup gold medals, was on Tuesday recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star cricketer Virat Kohli was among the 14 sportspersons picked for the Arjuna award by the selection committee.
"Well I am very happy to receive this award. It is the third time my name has gone for this award. This is a big motivation for me to do better in future," he said reacting to the development.
"Absolutely, any award is an encouragement. I have been competing in the international arena for the last four years and it has come in now," Sodhi added.
Sodhi, however, doesn`t feel that the award vindicated his stature after all the criticism he had faced following his poor performance in last year`s London Olympics.
"No, I don`t see any vindication. In Olympics I did my best. I have learnt a lot from that and this only encourages and motivates me to do better," he said.
"It`s not that I have had a bad run or anything but I would say I was unlucky as I dropped some targets towards the third round and in sports these things happen. You can`t win every time but I am very happy with my performance over the last few years."
Insisting that shooting has a bright future in India, Sodhi lauded the efforts of the Sports Ministry and National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) for promoting the sport in the country.
"I think the government is doing a great job and so is the federation. That`s why every shooter is participating (in international events) and somebody or the other is doing well. So I think it`s a great effort by the Sports Ministry who have pumped in a lot of money for training," the ace rifleman said.
He, however, feels the need of the hour now is to take the sport to the smaller cities of the country.
"I guess we need more ranges in small cities. In metros we have ranges and everything," Sodhi said.