Sheeraz Sheikh looks ahead with confidence

The skeet shooter has been shooting 119 out of 125, consistently in all the three World Cups in Acapulco, Al Ain and Changwon, when only a high score of 122 has been making the cut for the finals.

Sheeraz Sheikh, 30, is ready to return to the range for further training from Thursday, even though the training camp for the World Championship team is scheduled from June 20 to 30.   -  PTI

Sheeraz Sheikh has been training hard, without getting matching rewards for his sincere efforts in the World Cups this season.

The skeet shooter has been shooting 119 out of 125, consistently in all the three World Cups in Acapulco, Al Ain and Changwon, when only a high score of 122 has been making the cut for the finals.

The Olympic quota has thus been a little away for Sheeraz, even though other shotgun shooters including Olympian Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Kynan Chenai and Prithviraj Tondaiman have been getting much closer to making the finals in skeet and trap, to possibly strike the Olympic quota.

After two weeks of rest and recovery following the recent selection trials for shotgun, the shooters, including the 30-year-old Sheeraz are ready to return to the range for further training from Thursday, even though the training camp for the World Championship team is
scheduled from June 20 to 30.

READ: India announces 29-member team for shotgun World Championship

The Shotgun World Championships to be held in Lonato, Italy, does not offer any Olympic quota place this time, but Sheeraz felt that it was a very important competition.

‘’It is the World Championship, one of the best stages for an athlete to perform at his best. There is no Olympic quota, but we have other things to fight for, like the medals, world rankings, and qualification for World Cup Finals. Since, a lot of young shooters are in the team like Anant Naruka, Kartikki Shaktawat, Areeba Khan, it will be an amazing experience for them before they start for the last World Cup in Finland, where we have two Olympic quota places’’, observed Sheeraz.

The Asian Championship to be staged in Doha, Qatar, in November will offer the last set of Olympic quota places for the Indian shooters, but there could be a different shotgun team for the same.

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‘’Post Finland, we have two very important selection trials for the Asian quota qualifier’’, remarked Sheeraz.

The rifle and pistol shooters have already collected seven Olympic quota places for Tokyo 2020, and look good for more, during the last World Cup in Rio de Janeiro and the Asian Championship. Sheeraz hoped that things would change for good for shotgun as well.

‘’We are getting close and missing. Shotgun team is now professional and hard working. I hope good things will happen for us, especially with so much good support from the national federation and Sports Authority of India’’, said Sheeraz.

For the last Olympics in Rio in 2016, two shotgun quota places were won, and three shotgun shooters, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Kynan Chenai and Mairaj Ahmad Khan went on to compete, as one of the rifle quota places was exchanged for shotgun by the national federation.