It all started with Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the 2004 Athens Olympics, when the double trap shooter won a silver medal for India. Now in less than a month's time it will be Ronjan Sodhi making his debut appearance at the Olympics with great expectations " some his and some of the nation's.
The double trap at times can be demanding and frustrating as it takes a lot out of a shooter at the range. The event is competed outdoors where shooters take turns to hit flying clay targets. In other words, the double trap is not for weak hearts " the reason being that the moment you step on to the range you are welcomed by deafening gun shots with contagious level of focus and concentration of the marksmen.
Just prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Sodhi broke two world records, but failed to make the cut to the mega event as Rathore was awarded the quota place and was not even awarded a wild card entry. However, Sodhi took that in his stride and continued to do well at the shooting arena. In 2010 he won the world title and in 2011 became the first Indian to defend his title.
The burly sardar from Punjab is known for his calm composure, which is considered as a greatest asset for any shooter, especially the double trap. Presently, Sodhi is in Italy training with fellow shooters and good friends Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Shagun Chaudhary. Since the double trap will be competed outdoors, London's chilly weather conditions would test his mettle and patience.
After Abhinav Bindra's Beijing success, this time all hopes would be on the shooting contingent, but Sodhi is treating it as any other competition and just want to give his best. The world No.2 after his World Cup titles, two silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and gold at the Guanzhou Asian Games has raised the stakes for himself.
In 2012 the 32-year-old hardly had any success, but Sodhi remains confident of a good show in London and has been working hard to realise his dreams. Shredding some weight is also one aspect of his training module and he looks fit with few kilos less. But some experts are wary that change in his body weight might affect his shooting.
With hardly a month's time left for the actual competition to begin, which is touted as the actual acid test for any athlete and Sodhi would like to make his maiden appearance in the Olympics worth remembering " again for himself and the nation.