After the excitement of the medals in the Asian Games, the focus will be on the Olympic quota places in the 52nd World shooting championship to be staged in Changwon, Korea, from Sunday.
Out of the 360 Olympic quota places assigned for shooting for Tokyo 2020, the first 60 would be distributed during the World Championship.
The 15 Olympic events will have four Olympic quota places each on offer. Thus, even if you miss a medal, you may have the satisfaction of securing one of the quota places, which will belong to the country and not to the shooter who wins it.
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The strong Indian contingent of 90-odd shooters, including the juniors, who will aspire to win medals, will start its campaign through the mixed air rifle teams of Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar, who had won the mixed bronze in the Asian Games, apart from Mehuli Ghosh and Deepak Kumar, who won their share of individual medals in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, respectively.
Unlike the regular events, the newly introduced mixed pair events in rifle, pistol and trap will offer Olympic quota places for the top two teams.
Once an athlete wins an Olympic quota, he or she would not be eligible to win any more quota in that Olympic cycle. Thus, the quota places may be won even up to the sixth place or more in the World Championship as the competition hots up, as the same individuals shoot different events.
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India had to be judicious in fielding its shooters, and thus the 16-year-old Saurabh Chaudhary who stunned everyone with the men’s air pistol gold in Asian Games will be competing in the junior event.
Shahzar Rizvi, who won a gold and a silver in the World Cups this season, Abhishek Verma, who won the bronze in Asian Games on international debut, and Om Prakash MItharval, who finished fourth in two World Cups this season, will be the ones fighting for the quota places in men’s air pistol.
The young Commonwealth Games gold medallists Anish Bhanwala and Manu Bhaker will be in contention for the quota places in men’s rapid fire pistol and women’s air pistol, and sports pistol.
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The 16-year-old Manu, who shot 593 in sports pistol in the Asian Games, will also be in contention for the mixed air pistol team honours.
Some of the seasoned shooters like Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang and JItu Rai get into the team after missing the Asian Games and would be keen to make their presence felt.
Heena Sidhu, Rahi Sarnobat, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Lakshay Sheoran, Anjum Moudgil, Sanjeev Rajput, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Tejaswini Sawant, Akhil Sheoran, Chain Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Seema Tomar, Elavenil Valarivan and Shardul Vihan will be some of the prominent names.
The 19-year-old Elavenil, who won two junior World Cup gold medals this season in Sydney and Suhl failed to strike her best form in the Asian Games. She will be competing in the junior events in Changwon, as was planned originally, while Mehuli returns to the squad after being dropped for the Asian Games.