Vijay, Anish, Neeraj among 50 in the fray in rapid fire pistol

Vijay Kumar has been enduring a struggle in recent times having not reached even the "Minimum Travel Score’’ of 579

Gagan Narang had a disappointing seventh CWG appearance, returning without a medal from the multi-sport event for the first time in his career.   -  PTI

Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar will attempt to regain his confidence in rapid fire pistol when he opens competition in the 18th Kumar Surendra Singh shooting championship at the Dr. Karni Singh Range, Tughlakabad, here on Wednesday.

It has been a struggle for Vijay, who has been out of the national squad, in recent times, as he has not been able to reach even the "Minimum Travel Score’’ of 579. In fact, Vijay had shot 566 and 567 in the last two trials. His attempt to revive fortunes by competing in the MQS section of the Munich World Cup did not fructify, as his pistol box was misplaced by the airlines when he reached Munich.

Vijay managed to shoot 565 with the spare gun borrowed from Gurpreet Singh who had placed seventh in the Rio Olympics.

To his relief, Vijay got his gun back during his return journey from Germany, and that should possibly help him on his return journey to peak form.

Anish Bhanwala, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and Neeraj Kumar will also be in the fray along with other prominent shooters in a field of about 50 in rapid fire pistol.

The fact that the World Championship team can have only 10 shooters in all for five of men’s pistol events, would make it very difficult for the fringe shooters to make the cut.

Along with the 25-metre rapid fire pistol, competition will open in the men’s 10-metre air rifle events, which will feature junior and youth sections. There will be about 600 shooters, which has forced the organisers to arrange eight relays of 70-odd shooters each, and hold the air rifle finals on Thursday.

Some of the prominent shooters with rare exceptions will be in competition, including the Olympic and World Championship medallist Gagan Narang, who is fighting to regain his spot in the air rifle team. Interestingly, the Gagan Narang Sports Promotion Foundation is the organiser of the championship, which had to be shifted from Thiruvananthapuram owing to the scare caused by the Nipah virus.

Entries have been done through online registration, saving a lot of time and hassle for everyone.

With the fifth set of selection trials being held concurrently, it will be intense competition.

In women’s air rifle, Elavenil Valarivan, who had won the Junior World Cup gold in Sydney with a world junior record score of 631.4, would attempt to break into the squad which already has Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela and Mehuli Ghosh.

For the Asian Games there can only be a two-member team like the Commonwealth Games, while for the World Championship there can only be eight women rifle shooters in all, which may make it a hard task for the aspirants.