Top ten shooters tune in the Baku World Cup

World Championship medallist Gagan Narang, Chain Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Prakash Nanjappa and the shotgun marksmen Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Kynan Chenai will be in action in the World Cup that will have 640 shooters from 80 countries.

World Championship medallist Gagan Narang is all prepared for the Baku World Cup which starts from Tuesday.   -  K. Ananthan

Ten of the 12 Indian shooters who will be competing in the Rio Olympics will be sharpening their competitive fire power in the last World Cup of the season in Baku, Azerbaijan, from Tuesday. The Indian challenge will be spearheaded by the former World and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, whose event, 10-metre air rifle will be on June 23.

Pistol shooters Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu, apart from World Cup Final silver medallist Apurvi Chandela, shouldering considerable hopes of Olympic medals, along with Olympic and World Championship medallist Gagan Narang, Chain Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Prakash Nanjappa and the shotgun marksmen Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Kynan Chenai will be in action in the World Cup that will have 640 shooters from 80 countries.

Former World Champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, gunning for a medal in trap in his fourth Olympics, and air rifle shooter Ayonika Paul scheduled to make her maiden Olympic entry, opted to skip the World Cup to focus on their specialised training in Italy and back home in Mumbai respectively. In fact, a new set of electronic targets were inaugurated by the former Cricket Board president Sharad Pawar in Panvel, Navi Mumbai, on Sunday. With the installation of 13 electronic targets, Ayonika will be tuning for the Olympics with her coach Suma Shirur, herself an Olympic finalist, Asian champion and world record holder for the perfect score of 400.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan, the skeet shooter who missed the gold in the Rio World Cup earlier this season on a shoot-off, will be returning to competition after skipping the third World Cup in San Marino, on the advice of coach Ennio Falco, the Atlanta Olympics gold medallist. In fact, the shotgun team had a training camp in Italy to prepare for the Baku World Cup.

India will be fielding 33 shooters in the World Cup that will have all the three, pistol, rifle and shotgun events.