Shooters eye new start

Rule changes will demand fresh approach

Shooters eye new start

 Indian shooters will attempt to begin the new season with strong performances in the first World Cup of the year and the first ever to be hosted by the country from Friday at the Dr Karni Singh Range.

The competition might not serve as an Olympic quota event but the performances here will, nonetheless, have an impact when the World Cup Final, the final act of the season, takes place at the same venue in October.

For Indian shooters, it is a wonderful opportunity to put behind the failings of Rio Games, where they were unable to bag a single medal for the first time in four Olympics. It led to some of the shooters not finding a place in the team, but they would feature in the Minimum Qualification Scores (MQS) section.

In fact, the MQS section would see a host of top Indian marksmen like Prakash Nanjappa (men’s air pistol and free pistol), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (men’s trap), Apurvi Chandela (women’s air rifle), Lajja Gauswami (women’s rifle 3-position) and London Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar (rapid-fire pistol) in action.

On Friday, the 10M air rifle men’s and women’s final would take place alongside women’s trap. Also featuring on Friday would be men’s trap and 25M rapid fire pistol events but with finals on Saturday.

In the absence of stalwarts Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang, who is participating only in rifle prone event here, the men’s air rifle team would feature the likes of Ravi Kumar, Deepak Kumar and Satyendra Singh.

Karnataka girl Meghana Sajjanar, who recently won four gold medals in the Intershoot competition at the Netheralnds, will participate in the women’s air rifle alongwith Pooja Ghatkar and Vinita Bhardwaj.

The hosts would be up against shooters from 49 countries, with the competition also featuring mixed doubles events.

The mixed doubles events will be introduced in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after the International Shooting Sports Federation approved the proposal on Thursday. However, there won’t be any medals on offer here.

With the rules too undergoing changes, it would demand fresh perspective and strategies from the shooters. The ISSF has done away with the semifinals and made finals a prolonged affair based on progressive elimination format. The Indians, with several new faces in their ranks, would be eager to cash in on the chances on home turf.

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