Indian shooters eye more quota berths in Munich World Cup

The leading Indian pistol and rifle shooters have been preparing in earnest for the next World Cup in Munich, from May 25 to 30.

File photo of Heena Sidhu and Manu Bhaker after bagging gold in 10m air rifle mixed event at 2018 Commonwealth Games.   -  AFP Photo

The leading Indian pistol and rifle shooters have been preparing in earnest from last week in Frankfurt Oder in Germany, for the next World Cup in Munich, from May 25 to 30.

Having won five Olympic quota places so far, two in women's air rifle through Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela, two in men’s air pistol by Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma apart from the one in men's air rifle by Divyansh Panwar — the Indian squad will now be looking for more berths for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, especially in women’s air pistol.

To acclimatise to the conditions, which have reportedly become bright and pleasant after the cold start in Europe, the Indian team opted to spend time in training in Frankfurt Oder, which is about 650 kilometres from Munich. It is different from Frankfurt and close to the Polish border on the East.

While, Youth Olympics gold medallist Manu Bhaker has been part of the squad, two-time Olympian Heena Sidhu had opted to train on her own with her husband coach Ronak Pandit.

Heena shoots only air pistol and the mixed event in the World Cup, Manu will also be shooting the 25-metre sports pistol.

With the National federation focusing on giving shooters the maximum chance to win Olympic quota, world record holder Anjum Moudgil had to relinquish her spot in the rifle 3-position event despite being the undisputed No.1 in the country. She, of course, has been utilising the situation to focus on air rifle and compete in the MQS section for rifle 3-position.

Coach Deepali Deshpande felt that Gaayathri Nithyanandam was shooting well and had a bright chance of securing the Olympic quota in the women’s rifle 3-position event.

More quota places

The men’s rapid fire pistol shooters Anish Bhanwala and Adarsh Singh will be keen to get hold of the three Olympic quotas available in the event.

Equally, Olympian and Asian Games gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat will be keen to win the women’s 25-metre sports pistol quota.

Nearly a dozen shooters like Mehuli Ghosh, Arjun Singh Cheema, Om Prakash Mitharval, P. Shri Nivetha, Olympian Gurpreet Singh, Asian Games medallist Shweta Singh and the fast improving air rifle shooter

Sandeep Singh would all be shooting only the MQS section. Moreover, they have not been part of the training camp in Frankfurt Oder.

The main team is scheduled to reach Munich on May 23. The pre-event training will be held on May 25 and the first day of competition on Sunday will feature the women’s air rifle final.

The women’s rifle 3-position, women’s air pistol and the men’s 25-metre rapid fire pistol, which all have bright Indian prospects for Olympic quota, will be contested next Wednesday.