ISSF World Cup: India shotgun shooters in search of first Olympic quota

With Kynan Chenai and Prithviraj Tondaiman shooting close to their best in the last two World Cups in Acapulco and Al Ain, and missing the final narrowly, the odds may swing in their favour this time.

Prithviraj Tondaiman will be keen to make it count at the ISSF World Cup in Changwon and earn India an Olympic quota in the trap event.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

The shotgun shooters will get a chance to open their account in the race for the Tokyo Olympic berths in the World Cup starting in Changwon, Korea, on Tuesday.

With five shooters in rifle and pistol, Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Saurabh Chaudhary, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Abhishek Verma, having secured the Olympic quota, the onus is on the shotgun specialists to strengthen the team.

For the last Olympics in Rio, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Kynan Chenai and Mairaj Ahmad Khan had made the national team. Of course, one of the  rifle quota place was exchanged for a shotgun quota then. Skeet shooter Mairaj had given an exemplary performance in Rio and had shot 121 out of 125 and missed the final in the shoot-off.

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It will be the skeet shooters who will open the campaign in the World Cup in Changwon, with the women’s final scheduled for May 10. There will be unofficial training on Tuesday, followed by the pre-event training on Wednesday. The qualification will start for women on Thursday. The men’s qualification will start on Friday, and they will have the final on Saturday.

Unfortunately, the reigning Asian champion and National champion Angad Vir Singh Bajwa has been debilitated by a severe stomach ailment, and had to drop out from the World Cup. Unfortunately, a replacement could not be made, even though Smit Singh was in line, as there was no time to process the new gun permit.

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The women trap shooters will have pre-event training on May 13, followed by competition over the next two days.

The Indian men’s trap team is still without four-time Olympian and former World Champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, who has not yet recovered from ill-health. He had skipped the last World Cup as well. His place will once again be taken by Zoravar Singh Sandhu.

Interestingly, Asian Games silver medallist Lakshay Sheoran will be shooting in the MQS section to prepare for the season ahead.

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With Kynan Chenai and Prithviraj Tondaiman shooting close to their best in the last two World Cups in Acapulco and Al Ain, and missing the final narrowly, the odds may swing in their favour this time.

The trap shooters, busy with their training, are scheduled to leave for the World Cup on May 9.