Testing times for India’s top shooters

It will be another big step in the new Olympic cycle, close on the heels of the World Cup at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, when the cream of Indian shooting, including many Olympians, assemble for the 11th Sardar Sajjan Singh Sethi memorial Masters shooting to be staged from March 18 to 22.

Gagan Narang will be one of the major shooters participating in the event.   -  PTI

Indian shooting thrives, thanks to the constant exposure to high intensity competition on a regular basis, at the national and international level.

It will be another big step in the new Olympic cycle, close on the heels of the World Cup at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, when the cream of Indian shooting, including many Olympians, assemble for the 11th Sardar Sajjan Singh Sethi memorial Masters shooting to be staged from March 18 to 22.

Since the scores will count towards national selection, it will be another good opportunity for everyone, who are eligible in the first place in rifle and pistol events, and willing to capitalise on it, to assert their efficiency.

The championship will open with air rifle in the men’s and women’s sections apart from 50-metre free pistol for men and 25-metre sports pistol for women, on Saturday.

Deepak Kumar and Ravi Kumar who had made the final of the World Cup at the same venue in air rifle, will be out to prove their prowess once again, in the company of Sanjeev Rajput, Gagan Narang, Akhil Sheoran and Chain Singh.

In women’s air rifle, Pooja Ghatkar who won the bronze medal in the World Cup is expected to compete in a field having Meghna Sajjanar, Vinita Bhardwaj, Apurvi Chandela, Suma Shirur, Anjali Bhagwat, Shriyanka Sadangi and Mampi Das among others.

The organisers could not confirm the participation of Jitu Rai and Amanpreet Singh who had won the gold and silver in the World Cup recently, but there will be no dearth of competition in the presence of Prakash Nanjappa and Omkar Singh.

In sports pistol, Surabhi Pathak, Heena Sidhu, Rahi Sarnobat, Annu Raj Singh, Gauri Sheoran and P. Shri Nivetha should make it a lively affair with the new rules leading to a progressive knock-out format.

The competition in the junior and youth sections should make it an engrossing exercise for the shooters who are thirsting to make a mark and wear the India colours in the international arena.