London Olympics: There`s still hope for Rathore

New Delhi: All is not lost for Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore as the NRAI is still open to the idea of providing the shooter with an opportunity to represent India along with Ronjan Sodhi in the double trap event of the 2012 London Olympics.

In the National Shooting Championship at the Karni Singh Ranges on Wednesday, Rathore shot a total of 182 to clinch the bronze medal, which is expected to boost his morale in his quest to earn an Olympic quota.

"The scores here will be considered and there will be two trials (in Delhi and Patiala before the team is announced later this month), which will also be important," a top NRAI official said.

Rathore, a silver medallist at the Athens Olympics in 2004, failed to earn a quota place in the recently-concluded Asian Shooting Championship in Doha, but with a provision that allows the federation to swap one place -- chose an in-form shooter over the one with the quota -- the army man still has hope.

Rathore said he is capable of doing what he did exactly eight years ago.

"After being in sport for 12 years, I know what I am capable of. I have to back myself and I feel I have been shooting well. But the decision to include me is purely in the hands of NRAI and the selectors. And if they pick me I won`t disappoint them," Rathore said.

"If they feel that I would be able to do well, if they trust me I won`t disappoint them," he reiterated.

After notching 137 in the qualifying, Rathore shot 45 in the finals to finish on the podium on Wendesday

Haryana`s Ajay Mittal clinched the gold medal after shooting 185 (138+47), while local boy Sangram Dahiya bagged the silver, courtesy his 183 (137+46).

It was a day of disappointment for world number Ronjan Sodhi who finished fourth with a total score of 181, followed by Ankur Mittal and Shayan Masood.

Though he did not win the yellow metal, Rathore seemed at ease with his showing.

"Today I was happy with the way I fought. I didn`t give up even till the last shot."

What could work in Rathore`s favour is that he is experienced enough, and had also equalled the world record by shooting 148/150 at the Asian Shotgun Championship last November after almost calling it quits.

"It has been tough for me in the last three years. But I have come back strongly in the last few months. If I get a chance in Olympics I can prove myself again.

"It was tough to motivate myself in the last few years. But I always believed that I still have it in me to do it again. I would like to pat myself on the back for that. I have another one or two years left in me and I want to go out on a high note," said Rathore.

Ankur Mittal bagged the gold medal in junior men`s double trap while Shayan Masood and Asher Noria won the silver and bronze respectively.

In double trap women, Shreyasi Singh, on her way to creating a new national record, clinched the gold medal while Seema Tomar and Varsha Tomar managed to win the silver and bronze respectively.

Shreyasi also won the gold in the junior section while the silver went to Varsha Varman.