Biggest contingent for World Cup Final

Indian shooters have proved the efforts of the National Rifle Association of India to host the World Cup Final in pistol, rifle and shotgun, in October, more meaningful as 10 of them have made the cut.

Heena Sidhu and Jitu Rai, who won gold at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year, will lead the Indian contingent at the pistol, rifle and shotgun World Cup.   -  PTI

The Indian shooters, Jitu Rai and company, made it the most successful shooting World Cup campaign for India by winning five medals including a gold and two silver, at home earlier this season.

They have taken the next step forward, and proved the efforts of the National Rifle Association of India to host the World Cup Final in pistol, rifle and shotgun, in October, more meaningful as 10 of them have made the cut.

That is an unprecedented number and a lot of credit should also go to the mixed team competition that will make an entry in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, when shooting strikes gender parity.

It may be recalled that Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu had won two gold medals in mixed air pistol in the World Cups, including the first at home this season. Naturally, they will shoot at the World Cup Final as a pair.

Similarly, Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar have also earned a berth for the mixed air rifle event.

For the individual events, the double trap team takes the cake as all three, Shapath Bharadwaj, Sangram Dahiya and Ankur Mittal have qualified. While Shapath is a prodigy at 15, Ankur has been phenomenal in winning the gold and silver in the World Cups this season, apart from putting the icing on the cake with the World Championship silver.

It does not matter that double trap, which got recognition in the country when Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the Olympic silver at its birth place in Athens in 2004, will not be an Olympic event any more.

It will continue to figure in the World Championships and the Indian youngsters had done very well with Ahvar Rizvi winning the junior silver, while the trio of Ahvar, Shapath and Shardul Vihan won the team gold, recently in the Shotgun World Championship in Moscow.

Among the individual rifle shooters, Pooja Ghatkar in women’s air rifle and Ravi Kumar in men’s air rifle have made it to the World Cup Final.

Jitu Rai. who has the World Championship silver and Asian Games gold will also be shooting in air pistol and free pistol events apart from the mixed team competition.

Amanrpeet Singh had qualified for free pistol with the silver in the World Cup at home.

Thus, India will have something to look up to on the first four days of the World Cup Final to be staged at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, here from October 24 to 29.

The Indian contingent: Ravi Kumar, Jitu Rai, Amanpreet Singh, Shapath Bharadwaj, Sangram Dahiya, Ankur Mittal, Pooja Ghatkar, Deepak Kumar, Meghana Sajjanar and Heena Sidhu.