Former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra will lead the 25-member Indian shooting contingent in the third leg of the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup (Rifle/Pistol), to be held here from May 19 to 26.
The Indian team comprises of 17 shooters and eight officials. But with the Rio Games less than three months away, all eyes will be on those shooters, who are selected to represent India at the Olympics.
Apart from Abhinav, other Indian shooters in the World Cup team who will also be heading to Rio include the likes of Jitu Rai, Gagan Narang, Chain Singh, Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul, Gurpreet Singh, P N Prakash and Heena Sidhu.
In the two Rifle/Pistol World Cups held so far in 2016, India has secured one gold medal via Jitu Rai’s top effort in Bangkok earlier this year. Jitu, a 28-year old army marksman, not only won the Men’s 50m Pistol gold in Bangkok but even reached the world number one ranking post the effort.
Shooting is expected to give India its most medals at the Olympics. In fact, this time a record 12 quota berths have been secured by the Indian shooters for the Rio Games, which is their highest ever.
Bindra’s event - Men’s 10m Air Rifle - will be the first final of the competition scheduled tomorrow.
The competition, which starts from tomorrow, will see in its opening day a second final out of the 10 in all, in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle. A total of 738 shooters from 88 countries are expected to participate here at the German City’s Olympic Shooting Range.
The Munich range, situated in the city’s Hochbruck area, was originally built to host the shooting events for the 1972 Munich Olympics, and is today in its 44th year of operation. Munich is an annual stop for the ISSF Shooting World Cups and the ISSF headquarters are also located in here itself.
A fourth and final World Cup stage will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan next month, which will be the last international event for the shooters before the Olympics.