Indian team finalised for Rio Olympics

The National Rifle Association of India opted to include Kynan Chenai for the men's trap segment, and left out rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput.

Kynan Chenai had won the Olympic quota in trap with a gutsy performance, but Manavjit Singh Sandhu had pipped him marginally in the selection race.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The selection committee of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), which met in the Capital on Saturday, opted for an additional entry in men’s trap in place of the quota won by rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput for the Rio Olympics.

The Indian shooters had won 12 quota places for the Olympics, one more than the last edition in London. With Olympic and World Championship medallist Gagan Narang being among the top two places in all the three rifle events, it was apparently easy for the NRAI to have an added entry in shotgun.

Kynan Chenai had won the Olympic quota in trap with a gutsy performance, but Manavjit Singh Sandhu had pipped him marginally in the selection race.

Olympic debut for Chenai

Even though it may be tempting to say that the NRAI president, Raninder Singh, who had won the silver medal in trap in the last National championship ahead of six-time Asian champion Manavjit Sandhu, had done a favour to his discipline and to the son of the joint secretary of the federation, reigning national champion Darius Chenai, there was no doubt that the decision would give an extra edge for India in its pursuit for Olympic medals.

Sanjeev Rajput was gunning for his third Olympics, and Manavjit Sandhu would be competing in his fourth Olympics. Kynan Chenai will be making his Olympic debut.

The argument of NRAI was that India would get 18 starts, with Chain Singh, Jitu Rai, Gurpreet Singh and Heena Sidhu shooting two events each apart from the three by Narang.

Sanjeev Rajput misses out

A country is allowed to swap one quota place with one in another event. It was gain for shotgun, and loss for Sanjeev Rajput.

“This is in keeping with the letter and spirit of the published Olympic selection policy wherein the parameters of performance, merit and investment have been unanimously honoured by the selection committee of the NRAI,” Raninder was quoted as saying by the release from the national federation.

Of course, Sanjeev Rajput will be part of the 27-member Indian team for the next World Cup to be hosted in Rio in April, as he is among top-3 in both prone and 3-position rifle events. He may perhaps take the blow in the right spirit and prepare himself better for the next World Championship to be held in 2018.

The team: Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Chain Singh, Jitu Rai, Gurpreet Singh, Prakash Nanjappa, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Kynan Chenai, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Apurvi Chandela, Ayonika Paul and Heena Sidhu.