Rio de Janeiro, Aug 7 : Former Olympic-level trap and skeet shooter Raja Randhir Singh, who is now an Indian Olympic Association (IOA) member expressed his happiness at the qualification of Jitu Rai, who kept India's medal hopes on the opening day of the Rio Olympics alive by qualifying for the men's 10m Air Pistol final, asserting that it was a huge honour for the nation.
Speaking to ANI here, the former IOA secretary-general was all praises for Jitu, however, adding that disappointment had to be taken in stride as well, as Gurpreet Singh was also in the fray but failed to qualify for the final after he finished 20th with scores of 94 96 93 99 99 95.
"I think they shot really well. You can't win everything and go back. Gurpreet as well as Jitu shot very well. Gurpreet had a bad round in between and scored 94 which pulled him down. But then eventually he made it up and shot two 99s and then he pulled himself up, but it wasn't good enough to make to the finals," Singh said.
Continuing to heap praises on Jitu Rai, he added that it was a major honour to be in the finals in the Olympics, however, adding that it will be tough from now on.
Jitu was slow to start with scores of 96 and 97 but picked up later with score of 98 that earned him the sixth position.
His final scores were of 96, 96, 98, 96, 96, 98. In the women's section, Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul were also in competition in 10 metre air rifle event but failed to qualify for finals.
Li Du of China set an Olympic record in the competition with a score of 420.7 to finish first in the qualification round.
Germany's Barbara Engleder finished second with 420.3 ahead of Elaheh Ahmadi of Iran (417.8). Shooting forms the country's biggest medal hope in the world's biggest sporting extravaganza. Ace marksman Jitu Rai and Gurpreet Singh will be in action in the men's 10m air pistol event. Indian rower Dattu Bhokanal progressed through to the quarterfinals of the men's single sculls event after finishing third in the first heat at the Rio Olympics.