Focus shifts to the Shotgun World Cup in UAE

The Indian shooting contingent has its hands full ahead of the World Cup later this month with Olympic berths to be secured above all else.

Manavjit Singh Sandhu training

The Indian shooting team including the likes of Manavjit Singh Sandhu have a lot to work on ahead of the Shotgun World Cup in UAE this month. (File photo)   -  PTI

After a successful outing in the 12th Asian Airgun Championship, the Indian shooting team now shifts focus to the Shotgun World Cup in Al Ain, UAE.  The tournament kicks off on April 7.

While sweeping 14 of the 18 gold medals in the Championships was a huge a morale boost, the Indian contingent enters the competition licking its wounds from the last World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico.

Olympian Kynan Chenai could not make the final despite shooting 123 out of 125 as he lost the shoot-off. Prithviraj Tondaiman had shot 121 in what was a high-scoring competiton.

With Olympic spots up for grabs, our shooters have a lot to play for, with a place in the final being immediate priority.

READ | Kynan, Prithviraj disappoint at Shotgun World Cup

The squad looks promising despite a slight slump in form in the recent past.

Former World Champion and six-time Asian champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu has been rusty but can spring to the top if he settles down to his rhythm.

Olympian Mansher Singh has been working hard on the trap shooters. With long-time coach Marcello Dradi from Italy joining the Chinese team after the expiration of his contract, Singh has his work cut out.

READ | Manu Bhaker-Saurabh Chaudhary smash world record; bag mixed team gold at Asian C’ship

The women are not far behind and have been consistently showing their calibre. Shagun Chowdhary shot a 49 out of 50 in the last two rounds, getting close to making it into the finals but missed it by three points to finish with 116.

Rajeshwari Kumari followed up on her perfect last round of 25 in the women’s trap with a 74 out 75 in the mixed trap but missed out the final with Kynan Chenai by one point.

To shoot 99 out of 100 in four successive rounds, albeit spread over two events, does speak for the high calibre of Kumari, whose performances are reminiscent of the shooting prowess of father and six-time Olympian Raja Randhir Singh.

READ |Indian skeet shooters draw a blank at Shotgun World Cup

Sheeraz Sheikh was the best of the skeet shooters in the World Cup in Mexico but missed the cut by three points to finish with 119.

We returned after a long flight on March 28 from Mexico. It took some time to recover owing to the 11 and a half hour time difference. We have resumed training and will prepare for a week in Delhi at the Dr. Karni Singh Range’’, said Sheikh.

The skeet shooters currently training in the capital have been bolstered by the arrival of former Olympic champion Ennio Falco as their coach.

Scheduled in the second part of the World Cup, the skeet competitions will see the Women's final on April 14 and the Men's Final on April 15.

The tournament begins with the trap categories. The skeet team will leave for the World Cup on April 10.