Rudrankksh Patil, who is only 18 years old, has won two gold medals at the World Championships and is the current world champion in the men’s 10m air rifle event.
He is currently on his rookie season on the senior international circuit.
Teenage shooting stars are not a new phenomenon in India; however, what makes Rudrankksh Patil’s accomplishment stand out is the fact that he did it at the World Championship. The World Championship is held once every four years and features a highly competitive field; in contrast, the ISSF World Cups take place four times per year. In point of fact, Patil was victorious over two Chinese competitors at the Tokyo Olympics, namely Sheng Lihao and Yang Haoran. That’s no easy feat.
Rudrankksh Patil is only the second Indian ever to win the 10 meter rifle championship. Which came first? Abhinav Bindra back in 2006. That’s a very impressive company to keep.
Rudrankksh Patil ranking at the World Championship ensured that he would receive an Olympic quota spot in the men’s 10m air rifle competition in Paris 2024. This is a competition in which India has won two medals, and he already has the mentorship of the two medalists, Bindra and Gagan Narang. Rudrankksh Patil keeps in touch with both of them and frequently consults them for their expert opinion on technological matters.
“The main reason Rudrankksh Patil started shooting was because my parents were very inspired by these two shooters,” he said at a press conference hosted by the Sports Authority of India. “Now that I am growing, I see how they have trained, gotten their good technique and scores. With the help of that knowledge, which I apply, I am able to grow from their experience.”
Progress that is steady and slow
Rudrankksh Patil continued the slow-and-steady trend from nationals, to junior, and then senior level achievement, which was another variation from the typical route of teen prodigies in India.
Rudrankksh Patil began shooting when he was around 12 years old in 2015, after being introduced to the sport at a school in Thane. In his first year of competition, Rudrankksh Patil won a bronze medal in the national championships. When he reached the tenth standard, he had to adjust with a makeshift range in Thane so that he can focus on studies at the same time. He had his fair share of teething troubles; his coach moved to Andheri, and he travelled by the local train for almost two hours with the heavy rifle. He had his fair share of teething troubles.
“The year 2018 was not a good one for me because I finished fourth in nearly every competition I entered. With the support of my coaches, I was able to identify my errors, learn from my heroes, and eventually move past that phase. The year 2019 was a breakthrough year for me on the world stage, as I came away with six medals. This helped me get selected for the Junior World Championship in 2021, which is a huge competition because it only happens every four years, and I ended up winning an individual silver medal. Because of these medals, I have the confidence that I am of that calibre and that I can develop fairly well. After then, we were able to establish a process, and we continue to develop along those lines to this day “He gave the reason.
Rudrankksh Patil considers process to be more than just a concept; hence, he sought out mental help very early on in his career. “During the year 2018, when I was having a string of unsuccessful dates, I decided to consult with a psychologist. Dr. (Anand) Nadkarni was of great assistance to me; he essentially reset the direction of my entire line of thought and walked me through the steps necessary to train the subconscious mind and concentrate the conscious mind.”
Both Rudrankksh Patil’s performance and the way he expresses it demonstrate that he has a mindset that is process-oriented.
For instance, in the match for the gold medal at the Cairo Games, he was losing Danilo Dennis Sollazzo 4-10 before coming back to win 17-13 in the new format that featured a one-shot each final. Earlier, he had led the qualification with a fantastic score of 633.9, and then in the ranking round – which chooses the top two for the gold medal match – he bested his Chinese opponent by a margin of 0.01 point. This allowed him to go to the gold medal match.
A timeout was requested by national coach Thomas Farnik during a pivotal part of the championship match. “He reminded me of the relaxation methods that we had learned, and I was able to bring myself back to a calm state. I was able to regain my concentration, and once I did, I realized that in order for my efforts to pay off, I needed to take some time to unwind and enjoy the fruits of my labor.”
“In addition, the fact that I had previously competed in Cairo (at the ISSF World Cup in February) proved to be beneficial… This year, I participated in two different World Cups and finished 11th and 7th, respectively. After that, I had this enormous ambition to get better, and that ultimately led to me winning the gold at the world championship.”
It is not nearly as simple as he makes it seem to be able to relax during the final round of the World Championship. Rudrankksh Patil’s eloquence and self-assurance, on the other hand, come from the stable support structure that surrounds him.
“My squad also has a physiotherapist, a nutritionist, a psychologist, and sponsors, all of whom contribute to my continued improvement both technically and strategically. For the purpose of preparedness, we have a set of plans and a method that we have built beginning with 2019. I am able to improve my performance and reach my peak state because to this routine. Every day, I am able to make this procedure better, and I believe that this is the factor that is assisting me at the moment.”
This methodical approach ensures that he is ready for anything, including battling for the Olympic quota that he has won when the newly-introduced severe trials take place in 2024. These trials are the first step towards the ultimate aim of winning an Olympic medal.
“Observing my own development, I can say that my growth has been consistent since 2019. I am equipped with a methodology and a capable group of people to provide help. If I keep going through this procedure, I believe that in 2024 I will be in a position to compete in the Olympic trials.“
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