By Aakash Kumar
New Delhi, Nov 13 : Shooting has been one sport where India have performed exceedingly well in recent times in all competitions across the world. In fact, it is the only sport where the country has a lone individual gold to its name at the Olympics Games courtesy Abhinav Bindra who clinched the top honours in 2008 in Beijing.
Naturally, a lot is expected from the Indian shooters who will be participating at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
In a first, 15 Indian shooters across multiple shooting disciplines have earned the quota for the Games, which are scheduled to be held next year from July 24 to August 9. These 15 includes all four available in air pistol and air rifle, across genders.
India has quotas in men’s and women’s 10m air rifle (Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Deepak Kumar), women’s 25m air pistol (Rahi Sarnobat, Chinki Yadav) and men’s and women’s 10m air pistol (Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Varma, Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Deswal), men’s skeet (Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad), men’s and women’s 50m rifle three positions (Aishwarya Singh Tomar, Sanjeev Rajput, Tejaswini Sawant).
In the women’s 10m air rifle discipline, Anjum and Apurvi won Olympic quotas for Tokyo 2020 when the former won silver and the latter finished fourth at the 2018 Shooting World Championships held in Changwon, South Korea.
Divyansh Singh Panwar, 17, earned the Olympic quota by clinching a silver medal in the 10m men’s air rifle at the ISSF World Cup in Beijing earlier this year. Deepak Kumar secured the quota in the same discipline after winning bronze at the just concluded 14th Asian Championships in Doha.
Rahi Sarnobat, the Asian Games champion, sealed a spot on the Tokyo bound flight by winning the gold in 25m pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in Munich. Chinki Yadav secured the second quota in the discipline when she reached the final and finished sixth at the Asian Championships in Doha.
Saurabh Chaudhary won the quota in men’s 10m air pistol by winning gold with a world record score in his first-ever World Cup in Delhi earlier this year. Abhishek Verma, 29, joined Saurabh by winning his first gold in Beijing in April this year.
In the women’s 10m pistol event, Manu Bhaker clinched the Olympic quota after she ended with a fourth-place finish at the ISSF World Cup in Munich. Yashaswini Singh Deswal joined Bhaker after she won gold at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
In the men’s skeet event, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad secured the Tokyo Olympic quota by winning gold and silver respectively at the Asian Shooting Championships in Doha.
Ace shooter Tejaswini Sawant bagged a spot for Tokyo Games in the women’s 50m rifle three positions event after she qualified for the final at the Asian Championships in Doha.
Two-time Olympian Sanjeev Rajput and Aishwarya Singh Tomar secured Olympic quotas in women’s 50m rifle three positions event after the former won silver in Rio de Janeiro while the latter qualified after reaching the final and ultimately winning bronze in the Asian Championships in Doha.
India have won four medals in total (one gold, two silver and one bronze) in shooting across disciplines at the Olympics and given the form the Indian shooters have been in the last two-three years, one can expect a handful of medals when they enter the shooting range in Tokyo.
(Aakash kumar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)