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For India, shooting has always been a highly rewarding arena, and with the ongoing Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, this has again proved objectively correct. Veteran shooter Sanjeev Rajput has braved the odds and at 37 years of age hit the bulls-eye yet again to gift India a 3rd silver medal in the Asian Games. Participating in the men's 50 m Rifle 3 Positions category, Rajput showed his valour by shooting a total of 452.7 to put himself in the second position on the podium at the JSC-Shooting Range. The gold went to China's Zicheng Hui while Japan's Takayuki Matsumoto bagged the bronze medal.
Sanjeev Rajput's consistent performance over the last few years has indeed been a mirror to his resilience.The Yamuna Nagar born player has been made to go through a lot of tests in recent times, and it's incredible to see him still unfazed in his concentration and dedication to win medals for the Nation. In the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games held in April, Rajput lends a golden hue with his win in the 50 m Rifle 3 Positions event. The 37-year-old Rajput shot 454.5 to bag the top prize after topping the qualification stage with 1180 points at the Belmont Shooting Centre. Rajput is the kind who has gone out and done his country proud on countless occasions returning with laurels from most, having 4 ASIAD medals and 6 CWG medals already to his name. In the year 2007, he won the Olympic berth by making a New National Record of 1170/1200 in ISSF World Cup Fort Benning, USA, by breaking his record of 1165. It's commendable to see someone like Sanjeev Rajput performing this well in spite of several controversies spinning around him. Some issues plagued his personal life involving several court-calls, but it is indeed praiseworthy to see Rajput undeterred and focused on winning medals. Post the 2016 Rio Olympics, a lot of emotional and psychological pressure had been created with the build-up of nasty news regarding him which was inevitable and took a toll on him mentally. In spite of all such new stirrings, Rajput has managed to do his country proud and not let his attention waver. Given the Arjuna awardee's consistency with the gun at the shooter's range, he is a force to reckon with and a clear medal favourite. Sanjeev Rajput's journey hasn't been easy. He does not have the same exposure as many others of the same game in our country. When the Haryana government announced that it would deduct taxes from the cash prizes of the Commonwealth Games medal winners, it spelt trouble and humiliation for the triumphant and joyous lot. In marked protest, several players like Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia came together to boycott the Felicitation ceremony organised by the Government. The state government had announced that it would award Rs 1.5 crore to the gold medal winners, Rs 75 lakh to silver and Rs 50 lakh to the bronze medal winners from Gold Coast. However, the top players disregarded this action and chose to boycott the event. Rajput, who won gold at the CWG, too was exempted from a Rs 1.5 crore cash prize. The top players, having all the funds to bank upon, had the luxury to boycott and unknowingly dragged the other medal winners from Haryana too with them. What happened as a result of this was that Rajput did not receive the monetary perks from the government and must have endured a lot of financial hardship in reaching the medal at Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games today! With young players like the 16-year old Saurabh Chaudhury creating history by winning the 10m Air Pistol event today and Sanjeev Rajput laying his hands on the silver, it couldn't have been a better day at the ranges. Rajput's resilience and ability to stay focused and battle past every odd with sheer dedication has led to the streak of consistency which cemented itself today in the form of a silver medal at the Asian Games.