10-member Indian team for WC Finals

10-member Indian team for WC Finals
India will field a 10-member contingent in the World Cup Finals in pistol, rifle and shotgun, beginning at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range on Tuesday.

“It is a unique event because never before all the three events have been conducted together. It is a tournament only by invitation. Shooters will only need to buy their air ticket. Our shooters have done well, they are well-prepared and confident,” said National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh.

With several of the Indian shooters making the cut for the first time in the prestigious event, it is an encouraging sign, with the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games scheduled next year.

Apart from medals, there are also cash prizes on offer, with gold, silver and bronze medallists taking home CHF 1200 (Rs 80,000), 800 (Rs 52000) and 500 (Rs 33,000) respectively. Also, the ‘Champion of Champions’, a mixed event for the best rifle and pistol shooters, has a prize money of EUR 5000 (Rs 3.8 lakh) each.

For India, Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu have done exceedingly well in mixed air pistol. They have won two gold medals, including the first at home this season and will pair here as well. Likewise, Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar have also earned a berth in the mixed air rifle event.

Heena called World Cup Finals a mini-Olympics and hoped there will be no further changes in the mixed doubles format. “We need to further dissect the event, and work more on it. Every time we have played it, it has been in a completely different format. I hope there will be no more changes now,” said Heena, who had won the 2013 World Cup Finals gold with a world record.

Meghana, who will be participating in her maiden Finals event, was raring to go.  “I am quite excited. The preparations have gone well. I am hoping to do well here,” she said.

In the individual events, the double trap might be out of Olympics but has been a favoured event for Indian shooters. Shapath Bharadwaj, Sangram Dahiya and World No 1 Ankur Mittal, who has had an impressive season, have qualified for the event.

In air rifle, Ravi Kumar and Pooja Ghatkar will feature in the men’s and women’s events while Amanpreet Singh will compete in men’s free pistol.

The Indian team: Ravi Kumar, Jitu Rai, Amanpreet Singh, Shapath Bharadwaj, Sangram Dahiya, Ankur Mittal, Pooja Ghatkar, Deepak Kumar, Meghana Sajjanar and Heena Sidhu.
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