Asian Championship: India seeks to win more Olympic quota

The fact that India has topped the medals tally in all the four World Cups this season in rifle and pistol is ample testimony to the prowess of the young guns.

Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year.   -  FILE PHOTO/PTI

 

The Indian shooters will make an earnest final attempt to add to the nine Olympic quota places that they have won, so far, for the Tokyo 2020 Games. While the men and women have been camping in Doha, Qatar, preparing for the Asian Championship, which starts on November 4, the national junior team left for the competition on Friday.

India’s collection of nine quota places may not compare well with the 25 that world leader China has won so far, but India has done very well to assert itself in the air pistol and air rifle events in which it has won seven quota. It will be able to field teams for the mixed air events in the Olympics.

The fact that India has topped the medals tally in all the four World Cups this season in rifle and pistol, in Delhi, Beijing, Munich and Rio is ample testimony to the prowess of the young guns, and the healthy progress the team has made from the last Olympics in Rio, when it drew a blank.

Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela had secured the women’s air rifle quota last year in the World Championsip. Saurabh Chaudhary and Abishek Verma have won the men’s air pistol quota places.

In women’s air pistol also, India has bagged the maximum possible two quota places through Manu Bhaker and Yashaswini Deswal.

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Only Asian Games gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat, who won the quota in women’s sports pistol and the seasoned Sanjeev Rajput who secured the men’s rifle 3-position quota, have managed to go beyond the air events, to enhance collection.

The shotgun team has not been able to get hold of a single Olympic quota so far, for Tokyo, even though there are a bunch of high quality shooters capable of achieving the target. Asia is quite strong in shotgun, which has many variables and elements playing their part as compared to the identical atmosphere in the indoor ranges. It will be a challenge for the likes of former world champion Manavjit Sandhu, Olympian Kynan Chenai, or for that matter Mairaj Ahmad Khan who misssed the skeet final in the last Olympics narrowly, to win the ticket to Tokyo.

India will be keen to win rapid fire quota places and the women’s rifle 3-position quota. There is a possibility of plenty of medals, especially by the juniors, but the focus will be on the number of Olympic quota that India wins in Doha, as it will be the last chance.

The indications may be bright, but the health of Indian shooting will be known only in the Tokyo Olympics. It is important that India has the numbers and quality to try and follow the fine examples of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar, who won a gold, two silver and a bronze in all, in three successsive Olympics in Athens, Beijing and London.