The first step for aspirants to make the Indian Olympic team for Tokyo Games is to stay in the team for the international competitions like the World Cups and the Asian Championship in the run up to the Games.
With three top-class shooters — Elavenil Valarivan, Mehuli Ghosh and Shreya Agrawal — breathing down the necks of Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela, both of whom had earned the Olympic quota places the hard way at the World Championship in South Korea in 2018, it may have looked as though the duo may find it tough to retain their quota.
However, both Anjum and Apurvi had stepped it up nicely at the recent World Cup. It will be very hard for the best of the talent with Olympic aspirations to overtake them.
With a transparent selection process in place and with emphasis on merit points for international excellence, Anjum, the World Championship silver-medallist, has six merit points, which boosts her overall average to 636.50 in air rifle. Apurvi has also merit points for Olympic quota, a world championship fourth place, a world record and a world rank of No. 2 to stay close to Anjum in the second place at 635.43.
No merit points
Interestingly, Elavenil and Agrawal have impressive averages of 631.15 and 630.01, but no merit points to step it up any further so far. Mehuli is only marginally behind, at 629.28.
So, Elavenil gets to compete in the main team with Anjum and Apurvi, while the rest have to wait for their turn and if possible, be happy competing in the MQS section. Moreover, only Elavenil has three scores so far from the Asian Games, the World Championship and the World Cup, like Apurvi, for the Olympic selection.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) had decided that only the scores from the Asian Games, the World Championship, the World Cups, and the Asian Championship, would count towards the process of Olympic selection.
There may be trials for the top bunch at the end, wherever necessary.
Saurabh Chaudhary, the only other Olympic quota winner, is firmly placed in men’s air pistol, thanks to his Asian Games and World Cup gold medals, besides the new-found world rank that places him at No. 4.
As he keeps things simple, Saurabh will be shooting at every competition, including the trials. The rest will be looking to win the Olympic quota places in the forthcoming World Cups and the Asian Championship.
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