India eye 14 quota places for Youth Olympics in Doha tourney

 

The week-long tournament, featuring only air rifle and air pistol events, will be a litmus test for the 11 young shooters who left for Doha today.

Apart from youth, events will also be conducted in the senior and junior categories in both men and women's divisions.

Senior marksmen Gagan Narang, PT Ragunath, Sanjeev Rajput and Samaresh Jung are also part of the squad.

The season-ending tournament may be a routine meet for senior shooters but it will be first and last chance for the 11 youth shooters, who are part of the 39-member national squad, to make an impact in the tourney and win ticket for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games to be held in Singapore next year.

National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) Secretary General Baljit Singh Sethi believes Indian shooters have a good chance to win quota places.

"Going by the performance of the shooters in the trials, we expect at least two quota places," he said.

There are three quota places each in women rifle and men pistol event, while women pistol and men rifle events have four quota places each.

Maharashtra rifle shooter Ayonika Paul is supposed to be the best bet in the youth squad. The national junior champion in 10m air rifle, Paul had also claimed silver in the women's section in the Jalandhar national meet last month.

If she is able to maintain her good form, Paul, who was also in the finals of Asian Youth Games in Singapore, might do the country proud, Sethi said.

Chances for others in the team are also bright. As per competition rule, each country will get one quota place per event.

"Apart from medalists, good performance should fetch quota position to other shooters down the line too," added Sethi.

In all more than 300 shooters from as many as 20 nations are participating in the continental meet.

Squad:

Air rifle:

Men: Gagan Narang, PT Ragunath, Sanjeev Rajput, Satyendra Singh.

Junior: Bibaswan Ganguly, Chain Singh, Surinderpreet Singh Thind.

Youth: Navdeep Singh Rathore, Subham Malik.

Air pistol:

Men: Samaresh Jung, Zakhir Khan, Omkar Singh, Amanpreet Singh.

Junior: Amit Kumar Pilaniya, Sikander Mann, Farooq Ali.

Youth: Abhishek Rana, Digvijay Singh, Ajitesh Kaushal.

Air rifle:

Women: Priya Aggarwal, Suma Shirur, Tejaswini Sawant, Lajja Gauswami.

Junior: Mampi Das, Tejawini Muley, Pooja Ghatkar.

Youth: Ayonika Paul, Shruti Batterpatil, Neha Sapte.

Air pistol:

Women: Heena Sidhu, Annuraj Singh Shweta Chaudhary, Pushpanjali Rana.

Junior: Diksha Rajput, Deepika Patel, Sonali Parerao.

Youth: Loveleen Kaur, Surbhi Pathak, Ruchi Singh.

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