ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup Final: The lowdown on all 14 Indian shooters in fray

The top shooters at the end of the competition will become the first ever winners of the “Golden Target”, an award established by the new leadership at ISSF.

The Indian Team receives a grand welcome at Putian.

The Indian Team receives a grand welcome at Putian.   -  Twitter/@sanjeevrajput1

India will field its largest-ever squad in each of the 10 Olympic events at The International Shooting Sport Federation's (ISSF) season-ending Rifle and Pistol World Cup Final at the Chinese Shooting and Archery Administration Center in Putian, beginning Tuesday.

Each of India's 14 shooters (nine of them have won Olympic quotas) will represent the nation in as many as 19 starts. All marksmen and markswomen will be competing for the top spot in the 2019 rankings. The top shooters on the leaderboard at the end of the competition, on Friday, will become the first ever winners of the “Golden Target” -  an award for the best shooters of the year established by the new leadership at the ISSF.

All shooters who have qualified for the individual events will also be able to take part in the mixed team events, which have been included in the program of the World Cup Finals for the first time. The international pairs will be determined by a random draw and the winning duo will receive the President’s Trophy.

The Indian contingent

Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan, Mehuli Ghosh, Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, Rahi Sarnobat, Saurabh Chaudhary , Abhishek Verma, Anish Bhanwala, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Akhil Sheoran, Sanjeev Rajput, and Shahzar Rizvi.

 

The 2019 form book

Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil became the first Indians to bag Olympic quotas during the ISSF World Championships at Changwon in September last year. Moudgil finished second on the podium while Apurvi finished fourth.

Apurvi, however, had a much better season since. She finished at the top of the 10m Air Rifle standings with a whopping 2754 rating. The 26-year-old's standout performance came in the New Delhi World Cup where she won gold while setting a new world record of 252.9 points. She also bagged gold at the World Cup in Munich with a score of 251.0 in the finals.

Moudgil's twin golds in 2019 came from the mixed team event at the World Cups in Munich and Beijing, partnering the young Divyansh Singh Panwar. As of now she is seventh on the leaderboard with 960 points.

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Panwar, the quota holder in the men's section of 10m Air Rifle, has struck gold thrice in 2019 — two of which came from the Munich and Beijing World Cups. He also finished first at the Asian Airgun Championships in Taoyuan with a final score of 249.7.

One of the biggest highlights in Indian shooting this year has been the rise of Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma. The pair lead the 2019 standings with ratings of 2697 and 2149 respectively.

Saurabh, like Apurvi, put up a spectacular performance in New Delhi where he scored a then world record 245.0 and bagged a Tokyo 2020 quota place in the process. He won gold again at Munich with 246.3 points, shattering the record he set in Delhi. The Asian Games gold medalist paired up with Manu Bhaker in the mixed team events thrice, in New Delhi, Munich and Beijing, and won gold in all the events.

Abhishek bettered his Asian Games performance, winning gold in Rio de Janeiro and Beijing. His maiden World Cup final in the Chinese capital saw him bag a quota as well.

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Bhaker and Yashaswini Singh Deswal have won quota places in the 10m Air Pistol event.

The latter, with 1315 rating points, is the highest-placed Indian woman on the 2019 event leaderboard. The 22-year-old, who was Abhishek's partner in the mixed team events, secured her quota with a gold medal finish in Rio (236.7).

Bhaker, mentored by Jaspal Rana, picked up right from where she left in 2018 — winning four gold medals in the mixed team events in New Delhi, Munich, and Beijing.

The country secured its first Tokyo 2020 quota in women's 25m sports pistol when Rahi Sarnobat won her only gold of the year in the Munich World Cup, six years since she won her last WC gold.

Veteran Sanjeev Rajput bagged India's eighth quota at the Rio World Cup amid controversy. The shooter was awarded a zero in one of his shots due to a scoring equipment malfunction. However, the error was rectified and Rajput went on to bag silver in the men's 50m rifle 3 positions event.

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Though Elavenil Valarivan finished first in 10m Air Rifle in Rio, she failed to get a quota as India already had the maximum allowed two quotas in the event by then. However, her World Cup ranking of eight helped her qualify for the final.

Mehuli Ghosh, who mostly shot in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) events at the World Cups, notched up scores which would have seen her qualify for the finals in the main events. Coached by Olympian Joydeep Karmakar, she has had an excellent year, finishing with a World Cup ranking of 10.

Also participating are Akhil Sheoran (50m Rifle 3 Positions) and Shahzar Rizvi (10m Air Pistol), both with a World Cup ranking of nine.

Anish Bhanwal, participating in 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, holds the sixth place in WC rankings.

 

Where to watch?

The event finales will be broadcast live on ISSF's YouTube handle.