Ngathingpei Khayi

You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis

No Retreat No Surrender

Whole country had a high expectation from this world champion trap shooter but he is just a man. Ronjan Singh Sodhi came back empty handed from London Olympics. He is not giving up but will rise up again from the ashes.

It seems Ronjan Singh Sodhi already knew what is coming when we fixed a meeting. Before I could ask he said, “It really hurts when you loose a tournament but it hurts more when you are in good form. On that, I have a track record of playing good in finals. That day also I was leading in the first around and was in the top five till second round. In last stage, I missed four out of six targets and after that I could not gather myself back. I don’t know what happen but it just slipped out of my hand and it changed everything.” With sudden change in his tone, “I have put in lots of effort and I am sure it won’t go wasted. This time I could not win but it will surely bare fruit in coming days.”

Not to forget in last five years Ronjan Singh Sodhi has won around fifteen tournaments. He must have experience that heroic home return but this time it was a different story. “Obviously, coming back after winning is really exciting and all the attentions that you get. I am thankful that I have many wonderful people around me, my wife Ruchika, parents and friends. They made sure that we do not talk about the lost at home whenever we are together, instead what to do in coming days. Those first one week was really tough with all those hollow feeling.”

Just imagine what it must be like for a father, whose son prays for him everyday to win. “My four year old son Suryaveer doesn’t know much about the game but my wife tells him whats going on. Whenever I used to call back home, he tells me that he prayed for me. After my lost he asked, Kya dada medal nahi laiya?” Taking a pause with a long sigh he continues, “I am glad that it didn’t took me long to come out from it, to gather myself and get on with my life. I am fit and fine, training for next competition that is World Cup Finals in Solvenia.”Like a true champion, now he wants is to compete again with the winners of London Olympics. “In Solvania the entire Olympic medalist will be there. It is going to be exciting to meet them after Olympics. And it will be great if I can beat them there.”

Leaving behind the defeat, he looks back into his achievements, “Of all my wins I really cherish the one with a world record at Belgrade in 2008. Then defeating Chinese in their own courtyard in 2010 Asian Games.” Instead of taking break, he wants to get back into his sporting gear as soon as possible. Not just that he has started planning for Rio Olympics also. “Now I am thinking of the immediate competitions that is World Cup Finals and the Asian Championship in Patiala. After that, World Championship 2014 in Peru where the qualification quota for the Olympics will begins. I have a year and half to prepare for that. The idea is to get qualified for Rio Olympics as soon as you can.”

For a layman it looks like a burden to carry the expectation of the whole country. But this thirty-three year old gentlemen thinks, “For me it gives motivation that so many people believes in your ability. It makes you more determine to work harder and make you more responsible.” So what else it takes to be good in his game? “Well to do well in my sports nothing much should be going in your mind but on same hand you can’t have a blank mind.” Well, that is confusing but says so the expert. “I always try to have a positive attitude and always think positive. The moment negative thought comes up the target is gone. So you need to reinforce the positive thought again and again. And thanks to my wife who takes care of everything, so that I can concentrate on my game.”

Not to forget an important ingredient to be a winner but nobody has control over it, fate. “Luck plays a very important role in this sport, as I always say, if Olympics has three different finals on three different days there will be three different winners. Shooting is more of a mental game. I think it is 80% in mind and rest is in your skill where everybody matches you in training, skill and equipments,” says the DSP of Punjab Police.

Fate is important in his game but he came into this sport not by chance but because of his father. “We are from Ferozepur a border town in Punjab. Since there was no proper school, so my dad send me to Modern School Barahkhamba Delhi. Then I did my graduation from St. Stephens and MBA from Amity Business School. My father always wanted me to take up shooting as a career. After my Masters, I had a job opportunity and was confused to take it or not. He encouraged me to take up shooting instead. Initially I was shooting just as hobby but after 2004 I started taking it seriously.” What about he himself as a father? “Right now my son is too young to take a decision on that I won’t force him into anything. But fortunately he has shown interest in guns,” smiles Ronjan Singh Sodhi with a hope that tomorrow is going to be a better day.

(Published in Mandate Nov ’12, Page No. 144)

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