Other Sports

Russell makes a mark with his coaching

Russell Mark.

Russell Mark.  

Lavishes praise on his wards Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and Ronjan Sodhi

Russell Mark competed in six Olympics, winning gold in Atlanta (1996) and silver in Sydney (2000). But he is more familiar in India as the coach who guided Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to the double trap silver at the Athens Games in 2004.


In an entertaining conversation with Ritika Singh, as part of the Manav Rachna Happy Times series on the web, the 56-year-old Mark charmed everyone with the understandable versatility of a successful entrepreneur.

Mark has a hotel business in Melbourne and is in the process of strengthening online coaching of shooters.

“‘Chilly’ was one of the toughest competitors I ever shot with,” said Mark, praising the former Union Sports Minister Rathore, fondly called ‘Chilly’ in his close circles.

Even though he missed the Athens Olympics as a shooter, Mark said that he was proud of Rathore’s success and happy to see the relief on the Indian’s face when he stepped on the podium.

Mark recalled Rathore’s fantastic shooting at the Commonwealth Games in 2002, when he won the individual gold with 49 out of 50 in the final, after securing the pairs gold with Moraad Ali Khan, defeating the formidable Aussies — Mark and Michael Diamond.

He said that the seeds of excellence for India were sown in the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, when Mansher Singh won the trap gold.

He was equal in praise for another of his wards, former World No. 1 and Asian Games champion Ronjan Sodhi.

Technically better

“Ronjan was technically better. In 2010, 2011, he shot better than anyone. He could have made the London Olympics final and anything was possible after that,” said the Aussie.

“I was a mentor, giving them the confidence and belief,” said Mark, about his friendly approach to coaching.

Mark recalled that it took him his third Olympics to win a gold medal. “Shooting became an obsession and I was hungry to get the gold,” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 9:04:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/russell-makes-a-mark-with-his-coaching/article31879077.ece

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