India eye big haul on familiar turf

India will be expected to cash in on the home advantage and swell up its quota places in Rio Games during the Asia Olympic qualification shooting competition that begins at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range from Wednesday.

The event has final 35 Olym­pic quota places for the Asian nations across three disciplines-shotgun, rifle and pistol. With several top Indian and international shooters in queue to book spots in 2016 Olympics, there is every possibility of intense battles ruling the week-long event.

So far, Indian shooters have secured eight Olympic quota places through Jitu Rai, Apurvi Chandela, Gagan Narang, Abhinav Bindra, Gurpreet Singh, Chain Singh, Prakash Nanjappa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan. A host of Indian shooters would be eager to join the group including London Games silver medallist Vijay Kumar, Ronjan Sodhi, Manavjit Sandhu, Ayonika Paul, Pooja Ghatkar, Heena Sidhu, Sanjeev Rajput, Lajja Goswami, Aisa Sayeed and Rahi Sarnobat.

The President of National Rifle Association of India Raninder Singh was confident of Indian shooters grabbing 7-10 quota places in the event. If that happens, India would be sending a bigger shooting contingent than the 11 sent to London Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee took away the Olympic qualification status from the Asian shooting championships in Kuwait in November after the Kuwait National Olympic Committee was suspended following government interference. India then won the bid for last Olympic quota shooting event from the continent.

Among those who have booked the Olympic berths, Bindra will not be participating while Gagan, Chain and Gurpreet will only be shooting in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category.

The top international shooters participating in the event include, World No 1 women 10M Air rifle shooter Iran’s Elaheh Ahmadi, Kazakhstan men’s world No 5 Vladimir Issachenko (10M Air Pistol), World No 6 women trap shooter Yukie Nakayama, Korea’s Jonghyun Kim, a London Olympic silver medallist in men's 3P, Otryad Gundegmaa, silver medallist in women's Sports Pistol at London OIympics and Korea’s Bo Na Lee, a double Olympic gold medallist in trap & double Trap.
DH News Service

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