Indians aim to enhance skills

Heena hails introduction of mixed-gender events

 Following the disappointment of Rio Games, Indian shooters would be looking to make an impact when the country hosts its first World Cup at the Karni Singh Range from February 24.

With no pressure of winning Olympic quotas this year, it is an opportunity for the shooters to focus more on their training and adopt a fresh approach, if need be. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh called it an “historic moment” for the country and said the ISSF's administrative council and executive council meetings would also be taking place here and could come up with important decisions.

With World Cup Finals for pistol and rifle besides shot gun events scheduled to be hosted by India later in the year, Raninder viewed it as an opportunity to earn the confidence of international federation that the country is capable of hosting big events. “Step by step, we want to win the ISSF confidence and gun for the Olympic quota event for Tokyo Olympics,” said Raninder.

The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang feels the World Cup would give a chance to the budding shooters to view the best in the world in action. Narang would be participating in only the rifle prone event, but is determined to find his way back to his other two events — air rifle and 3-position.

Similarly, Heena Sidhu would only be focusing on the 10M air pistol for now, and would take on the 25-metre pistol once she has ironed the chinks in her main event.

“We have identified a few areas that we need to fix. Since this is one year where we can focus more on training, I would be working first on the air pistol event, since I am better in it, as the problem in 25 pistol would also be the same,” said Heena.

She was also excited at the introduction of mixed doubles events.“I feel women shooters always had lesser number of events, so I feel it's a nice change though I don't want events to be cut out for it. Anyways, I feel it would be interesting for the audience. I saw it on YouTube during the European championship and found people enjoying it.”

Pistol shooter Jitu Rai said he was eager to replicate his past successes in the World Cup. 50 nations will be participating.

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