From being left out of the team for the Asian Clay Championship in April despite being the defending champion, Ronjan Sodhi has emphasised his class to be one of the favourites for the shooting World Championship to be staged in Munich from July 30 to August 11.
Quite relaxed in the training base in Italy, where he has been joined by the rest of the shotgun squad, the 30-year-old Ronjan sounded confident of his chances of winning a medal in the World Championship and getting one of the first quota places for the Olympics in London 2012.
The confidence was understandable as Ronjan had won the gold medal in the World Cup in Lonato, Italy, with a total of 195 that was one short of the world record 196. In fact, he has shot world record equalling score of 147 in the MQS section in the World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico, in March this year.
Of course, he shot two world records, 147 and 194, on way to the gold in the World Cup in Belgrade in 2008. When he shot 194 once again last year in Minsk, Belarus, Hu Binyuan of China came up with a world record 196 to beat him.
“At last things have settled down, and I have been able to focus on my shooting,'' Ronjan said, when asked about the uncertainty at the beginning of the season, about his very inclusion in the main squad, to the healthy scenario at the moment.
Though the focus would be the London Olympics, Ronjan knows that it would be a great opportunity to ride on his brilliant form and win a World Championship medal. Ranked No. 5 in the world at the moment, mainly because he made the main list in only two World Cups this year, Ronjan is only one of three shooters in the world to have shot a perfect 50 in the final this season in double trap.
Abhinav Bindra and Manavjit Singh Sandhu won the gold medals in the last World Championship in 2006, to improve on the only silver won by Dr. Karni Singh four decades earlier, and the bronze by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in 2003.
Ronjan concedes that there was a sub-conscious feel about the magnitude of the competition ahead, but hastens to emphasise that working with a string of coaches, physiotherapists, psychologists and even a nutritionist, has given him confidence to handle all the pressure.
“I have worked very hard. When you are confident about your technique, and when you are doing well, there is a strong positive feeling,'' he said, equally happy to have the strong support of the Mittal Champions Trust.
As part of his preparation, Ronjan visited the shooting range in Germany about a fortnight ago, and checked out everything. “It is a fantastic range, and the scores are going to be high,'' he declared.
In the absence of Olympic silver medallist, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, who missed out on making the Indian team by a decimal fraction in the recent selection trials, the onus will be on Ronjan Sodhi to assert the Indian supremacy in the event.