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Prithviraj ready for the Olympic journey

Prithviraj Tondaiman... going great guns.

Prithviraj Tondaiman... going great guns.  

Shooter determined to win his place in the national squad

It is an interesting race aimed towards Olympic selection and Prithviraj Tondaiman of Pudukkottai is happy to lead the men’s trap at the halfway stage.

Having shot a national record equalling 124 out of 125 in Jaipur, the 31-year-old Prithviraj feels he has given himself a strong base in pursuit of national selection for the first three World Cups in 2019, which offer Olympic quota places.

“I was quite sure I would shoot a very high score at the Nationals as I had been shooting well in training leading up to it. I even told my friends back home that I would shoot 124 and they are quite surprised that I have good prediction skills,” said Prithviraj, who equalled the record of former world and six-time Asian champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu.

Prithivraj did slip to the third place in the finals of the Nationals. He later improved his performance to the second place in the first National selection trials, even though his qualification score slipped marginally to 119.

“It was a tough challenge to qualify for the final in the trials and I was happy to shoot 50 out of 50 on the second day,” said Prithviraj, who shot 69 out of 75 in the first three rounds.

Leading the pack ahead of Zoravar Singh Sandhu and Kynan Chenai, apart from Lakshay Sheoran, Prithvraj is determined to win his place in the national squad.

‘Coaching stint’

“I had a coaching stint with Olympic gold medallist David Kostelecky in October. He helped me a great deal with minor corrections.

“He helped me make a very good stock, which is the most important aspect to shoot consistently well,” said Prithviraj, who will take part in two more national selection trials in January 2019.

With three of the four scores counting for a shooter, Prithivraj said that he had already targeted getting the Olympic quota in Mexico.

“I have been training more on single shots to improve my score in the finals. It is not that I am shooting bad but I have had a few technical glitches with the gun hold. That pulled me down to No. 3 in the Nationals and No. 2 in the trials.

“I am confident that I will be well prepared by March when the World Cups start,” he said.

Unlike the qualification stage in which a shooter has the option of two shots on a target in trap, the finals demand accuracy of shooting with single shots.

Financial support

Even though he has not had government support, Prithviraj is grateful for the funding from the Adithanar Educational Institutions.

“I am grateful to our chairman Dr. Balasurbamanian Adithyan for the funding which has helped me a great deal and has given me the freedom to train abroad and get the best equipment.”

He did aim to compete in the Rio Olympics, but things did not work out the way he wanted. He is better prepared this time, to realise the Olympic dream.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 4:20:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/prithviraj-ready-for-the-olympic-journey/article25791036.ece

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