Shooting has not got its due, says Sodhi

Last Updated: Aug 01, 2011, 14:53 PM IST

New Delhi: In a first for Indian shooting, double-trap champion Ronjan Sodhi on Monday grabbed the top spot in world rankings, but the marksman is disheartened by the fact that the sport that has won the country so many laurels, is still waiting to get its due.

"Shooting has not got its due," Sodhi said matter of fact.

Anguish was writ large on his face as he urged the corporate houses to come forward and help the country become a superpower in Olympic sports.

"We can emulate the US as their system is very similar to us and can compete with them on an even keel in the multi-discipline event. But the only difference is that they are getting a lot of corporate support," said Sodhi in an interview.

Though he praised the government`s efforts, what has left the shooter crossed is the lack of recognition in general.

"We have got enough government support. Olympic sports, without its support, cannot survive. And in India, if you perform well there is no problem. But despite winning so many medals in international events, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, shooting has not got its due," he lamented.

As the discussion turned to his latest achievement, the despondent look gave way to a smiling face.

"It`s a great feeling to be ranked world No 1. It was one of my dreams to be at the top of the ISSF rankings and now that I have reached here I plan to look forward towards my other goals and ambitions. The journey hasn`t been easy but my determination was what kept me going and the last three years have given me a lot of reasons to smile," Sodhi said.

Sodhi, who did not win any medal till 2007 at any of the World Cups, showcased his ability to shoot under pressure last year by winning three gold medals, and it was his consistency in the past one year that has assured him of the world No.1 spot.

Churning out champion athletes is never easy but Sodhi felt the Mittal Champions Trust is one such institution that is doing its bit towards that.

A peek into his graph in recent years would indicate that the Ferozepur-born shooter`s career got a shot in the arm after he was picked up by the trust in 2006.

"I was picked up by them in 2006, when I was a nobody. And since then whatever I needed, I have been provided," he said, hoping that other corporate houses would take a cue from the trust.

The Aisan Games gold medallist, who has recently won a bronze in the ISSF World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, has his eyes trained on next year`s London Olympics.

"I now want to concentrate on my game for the 2012 Olympics as a medal in the Olympics is the greatest achievement for any sportsman," an elated Sodhi said.

Sodhi was earlier ranked second behind American Joshua Richmond by three points.

PTI