Manavjit Sandhu looks to capitalise on the minimal chances for Olympics

Manavjit, who has competed in the last four Olympics in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio, could not compete in the last two edition of the Shotgun World Cup due to health reasons. He now has limited opportunities to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Manavjit Singh Sandhu will take part in the men's Trap event at the Shotgun World Cup in Lahti, Finland.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Former World Champion in trap, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, is aspiring to make the minimal chances count, in his bid to win the Olympic quota place for Tokyo 2020.

The 42-year-old Manavjit, who had won the World Championship gold in Zagreb in 2006, and has won the Asian Championship gold six times, apart from the Asian Games silver in Doha, had missed the last two World Cups in Al Ain and Changwon, apart from the World Championship in Lonato.

Manavjit had grappled with a bronchial infection after landing in Acapulco, Mexico, for the first World Cup of the season in March. He did manage to compete despite "high fever" and shot 117 out of 125, which was inadequate, as even a score of 123, which fellow Olympian Kynan Chenai had shot, could not ensure a berth in the final.

Manavjit, who has competed in the last four Olympics in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio, has returned for the last World Cup of the season in Lahti, Finland, which offers the last Olympic quota places in shotgun.

"It took all this while to sort out. I feel recovered and ready. Naturally, after missing four months, it may take a competition to get to full pace. Unfortunately, I don’t have that luxury, as there are only two quota competitions left. So, we have to give 100%. I will try my best’’, Manavjit told Sportstar from Finland.

For the record, none of the Indian shooters have managed to win a quota place in shotgun, while the Indian rifle and pistol shooters have collected seven Olympic quota places so far.

The last chance for winning Olympic quota places for all of Asia will be the Asian Championship in Doha.

"The Asian Championship remains the best chance for the shotgun teams," said Manavjit, quite candidly, in the light of the intense global competition in the World Cups.

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In the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, there were three Indian shotgun shooters. After two had won the Olympic quota, one of the rifle quota was exchanged for a shotgun quota. Manavjit Sandhu, Kynan Chenai and Mairaj Ahmad Khan had competed then in Rio.

Despite shooting close to their best, Kynan Chenai and Prithviraj Tondaiman have been missing the finals in trap in the World Cups this season. Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, who had shot a world record 60 out of 60 on way to the skeet gold in the Asian Shotgun championship earlier in the season had also been out of the international circuit owing to health reasons.

It will be interesting to see how the shotgun marksmen cope with the challenge in the World Cup in Lahti, that starts with women’s trap on August 15.

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