ISSF World Cup: Lock, Load, Shoot!

With the uncertainty about the Olympic quota places dispelled, the Indian shooters will aim to secure 12 of the Olympic quota places that they are eligible to earn in the 2019 ISSF World Cup, New Delhi.

Sanjeev Rajput, who won the silver medal at 2018 Asian Games, will be one of medal prospects at the New Delhi Shooting World Cup beginning Saturday.   -  Special Arrangement

The threat is over and the shooters can now pull the trigger in right earnest in pursuit of the 14 Olympic quota places on offer, apart from the 30 medals, in the ISSF World Cup starting at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, on Saturday.

After the uncertainty about the Olympic quota places have been dispelled by a clear directive from the International Olympic Committee, the Indian shooters will aim to secure 12 of the Olympic quota places that they are eligible to earn in this edition.

The rapid fire experts Anish Bhanwala, Arpit Goel and Adarsh Singh have to wait their turn for the next World Cup to win the rapid fire Olympic quota places.

Read: NRAI thankful for saved Olympic quota places

With Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela having already secured the maximum possible two Olympic quota places for India in women’s air rifle, the focus will be on some of the explosive youngsters who have been dominant on the global stage.

Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary (background) during a training session at the Dr. Karni Singh Range in New Delhi.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan



Saurabh Chaudhary, the Asian Games gold medallist, Youth Olympics champion and World junior champion, will be one of the strong contenders in men’s air pistol. So will be the other Youth Olympics
gold medallist Manu Bhaker who had a phenomenal season last year when she won World Cup gold medals among women and juniors, apart from world class scores in the Asian Games.

Bhaker, in fact, will have three events, air pistol, sports pistol and the mixed air pistol to assert her class.

Of course, there are no more Olympic quotas available for the mixed events after the ones won in the World Championship last year. The shooters have to qualify individually and form a team at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

Schedule for Saturday, 23 February

09:00 - 11:45        50m Rifle 3 Positions Men Elimination 1

09:15 - 10:30        10m Air Rifle Women Relay 1

10:00 - 13:30        25m Pistol Women Precision Stage

11:45 - 13:00        10m Air Rifle Women Relay 2

12:45 - 15:30        50m Rifle 3 Positions Men Elimination 2

14:15                     Final 10m Air Rifle Women

15:00                     Victory Ceremony

Live Coverage on Ten Network and Doordarshan



Asian Games silver medallist Deepak Kumar and the air rifle national champion for the last three years Ravi Kumar have enough exposure at the international level to strike it rich at home. There is also a surprise package in the young Divyansh Singh Panwar.

Also Read: IOC restricts withdrawal of Olympic quotas to 25m rapid fire pistol event

The onus in women’s rifle 3-position will be on Gaayathri Nithyanandam and former World Champion in prone, Tejaswini Sawant, as the world record holder in the event, Anjum Moudgil is ineligible to fight for
any further quota place.
 

Sanjeev Rajput and Heena Sidhu take the oath of honour during the opening ceremony in Delhi on Thursday.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan


Seasoned Olympians like Sanjeev Rajput and Heena Sidhu who took the oath on behalf of the athletes at the opening ceremony on Thursday, will be able to deliver in men’s rifle 3-position and women’s air
pistol events respectively.

Asian Games gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat who shoots the 25-metre sports pistol, the equivalent of men’s rapid fire pistol, will be able to step on the gas along with Manu Bhaker and Chinki Yadav.

There are other shooters like Olympian Chain Singh and the Asian Games bronze medallist Abhishek Verma, who are capable of winning anything on their day.


Sanjeev Rajput, Tejaswini Sawant and Anjum Moudgil strike a happy frame on the eve of the opening ceremony of the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan


 

The focus of all the shooters will be to first make the finals in their events. Everything is possible thereafter, from gold medals to Olympic quota places.

The opening day will feature the women’s air rifle final, in which the host can aim to shoot the medals only.

There will be live television coverage of the World Cup by Sony and Doordarshan, which should provide the right impetus for the Indian shooters to show case their world beating skills.

It will not be easy, as the rest of the world is in strength, with the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Americans, Russians apart from the Europeans, gunning for glory, which should make it a lively contest over the next five days.