Mehuli, Saurabh lead India's charge at Asian Air Gun Championship

The focus will be on Indian shooters when the 11th Asian Air Gun Championship starts in Kuwait on Saturday.

Mehuli Ghosh had bagged a silver medal at the Youth Olympics in 10m Air Rifle event (File photo).   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

It has been a hectic season for the Indian shooters, even though the achievements and the rewards have been overwhelming for the fraternity.

After the World Cups, including the ones in juniors, the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, World Championships and the Youth Olympics, not to forget the numerous trials, the cream of Indian shooting will focus on the medals in the 11th Asian Air Gun Championship to be staged in Kuwait from Saturday.

Manu Bhaker, Mehuli Ghosh, Saurabh Chaudhary, Elavenil Valarivan, Hriday Hazarika will be some of the bright youngsters to be seen in action. There will also be the experienced ones like Apurvi Chandela, Deepak Kumar, Ravi Kumar, Om Prakash Mitharval, Anjum Moudgil, Shri Nivetha, Shazar Rizvi, Akhil Sheoran, Shweta Singh, Harveen Srao, along with the Asian Games bronze medallist Abhishek Verma.

Most of the shooters have already won many medals at the international level, including the Asian Games gold, and the Indian team is expected to assert its dominance the way it has consistently done so far this season.

Of the 26 countries, fielding 218 shooters in all, India will have 24, just one short of China. Singapore (21), Kazakhstan (18), Chinese Taipei (15), Kuwait (14), Japan (13), UAE (12) will be the other leading nations.

Quite interestingly, India will not be fielding a team in the 8th Asian Shotgun championship, being held concurrently in Kuwait.

Only two shooters, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Gurjoat Khangura, will be competing in skeet in their individual capacity.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), washed its hands off, stating that the championship did not figure in the Annual Calendar for Training and Competition (ACTC).

The Air gun championship will start with  air rifle for men and women on Sunday, after the pre-event training on Saturday. It will be followed by the junior air rifle events, mixed air rifle, air pistol for men and women, junior air pistol, and the air pistol mixed events on subsequent days.