Vijay Kumar made India proud with his heroics at the London Olympics where he won a silver medal in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol. He became the fourth shooter after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang to have won an Olympic medal. He speaks to Gaurav Jha from Indian Sports News about what the medal means to him, his Olympic journey and how the life has changed for him after winning the medal. Excerpts:
ISN: First of all, tell us how happy you are with the silver medal at the London Olympics:
Vijay: I am very happy, I just can’t explain what I am feeling right now. It is a dream of every sportsperson to do well at the Olympics. It is a biggest stage and to win a silver medal there is a huge thing. I am really happy with my performance.
ISN: Before Olympics were you confident that you will be able to win a medal at London?
Vijay: I have been in the game from 2003 and I was pretty confident that I will do well. Realistically speaking, my main target was to reach the finals. When I reached the finals I was competing with five other men. Then I thought that if I shoot well, I can make the top three and I did that. When I was in the top three, I thought that I can beat the Chinese to get up to number two and I did that as well.
ISN: There has been some dispute between you and the Indian Army. You have now been to Subedar Major. Are you happy?
Vijay: I won’t say that I am delighted as my promotion was pending. It is still not a commissioned rank or an officer rank and I think I deserve it because winning a silver medal at the Olympics is a big thing. Indian Army has told me that in the coming 5-6 months they will promote me. Let’s see what happens.
ISN: Are you unhappy with Indian Army?
Vijay: I won’t say that I am unhappy. I am here because of the support that I have got from the Army. But I am not asking what I don’t deserve. If Indian army can give esteemed positions to some other players, why can’t they do that to one of their own.
ISN: Your event is considered to be one of the most difficult in shooting, how did you end up choosing that?
Vijay: Yes, 25m Rapid Fire Pistol is very difficult as one has to shoot five shots in four seconds. But when I started with this I felt confident and that is what matters. No one else in my family was into shooting, but when I started it, I knew that this is what I want to do in future.
ISN: How has your life changed after winning the medal?
Vijay: The most important change is that I am getting so much attention these days. Everyone wants to celebrate my success and wants to talk to me. But I know that this will not last. It is only for 10-15 days and then everything will go back to where it was. I will start my training and people will forget me. They will only care about the next IPL then.
ISN: What can we expect from you in the future?
Vijay: I will keep trying hard and have some national championships coming. I can’t say that I will win the medal again in the next Olympics because I don’t know what’s going to happen there. I don’t want to be a politician and will always be a sportsperson.
ISN: How has been the support for you from the government?
Vijay: The support has been very good from both the government and the federation and I want to thank them for their support. Shooting is an expensive sport and one does need a lot of support. More corporate houses are coming into shooting and things are changing for the good.