With the shooting World Cup set to take centerstage in Delhi, Patriot gives a lowdown on India’s chances at the 2021 marquee event
The first half of the shooting World Cup is scheduled to be held in New Delhi’s Karni Singh Shooting Range on 18-29 March.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has already pulled out of the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, owing to the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule in South Korea. Due to absence from the event, the World Cup in Delhi is of utmost importance for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics aspirants.
India’s top 57 shooters, along with 15 Tokyo quota holders will feature in the 12-day tournament. However, there are a lot of shooters waiting in the sidelines to earn more and more quotas for the Olympics, and even dismantle some of the existing quota holders to pip them into the final round of the Olympics.
Since India will not be participating in the second leg of the World Cup to be held in South Korea, owing to the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule, this is in all probability the last chance for the shooters to shine, make a name for themselves and get into the final round of the all-important tournament.
Before all tournaments shut shop due to Coronavirus, India had registered an all-time high quota tally of 15 shooters in the past 18 months through various tournaments and qualification rounds.
To put things in context, the quotas earned by players are for the country, and not by individual players. Hence, the NRAI reserves the right to replace any of the shooters; if someone accumulates more points or shows some great form in this tournament, then he or she might find their way to the grand stage in Tokyo.
This competition for places is fiercest in the category of the 10m air rifle event. The two quotas in women’s rifle were earned by Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil, who were the first two Indian shooters to secure the quotas at the World Championship in Changwon in 2018. Considered a rifle 3 position specialist, Moudgil gave a stellar performance to win silver in the 10m event. Chandela, who finished fourth in Changwon, was brilliant in 2019, winning two World Cup gold medals in 10m air rifle.
Elavenil Valarivan, the 21-year-old rifle specialist from Tamil Nadu, was ranked third in the world behind Chandela and Moudgil in early 2019, but closed the year by toppling Chandela from the top position. She has been in hot form since.
Despite being away from competition for a year due to the lockdown, Valarivan showed irresistible form during the four domestic trials—spread over two months—that concluded last week. She was remarkably consistent, winning three of the four trials and topping the charts in two qualifications. In the third trial, she shot 253 in the eight-shooter final, more than Chandela’s existing world record (252.9).
Such red hot form is bound to be taken notice of, and if she shows this streak in this World Cup, she might just pip the two veterans and earn herself an Olympics place.
Another shooter who would be looking to gain a place in the Olympics is 18-year-old 25m rifle shooter Anish Bhanwala.Currently ranked 12th in the world but seventh in India, Anish has not been in the best of form recently. Considered as a future world number one, all eyes will be on the youngster to deliver.
All selections were based on the latest NRAI rankings. Save Anish’s selection in men’s 25m rapid-fire pistol squad, his present high world ranking of 12 gives him a better chance of securing a Tokyo 2020 quota pending a good finish.
Not everyone is participating
Some countries which have withdrawn their entries for the tournament include the likes of China, Japan, Germany, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Kuwait and Malaysia, NRAI said in a press release.
A total of 42 countries have so far confirmed their entries for the International Shooting Sport Federation combined World Cup for rifle, pistol and shotgun.
Prominent among the countries competing are Korea, Singapore, USA, United Kingdom, Iran, Ukraine, France, Hungary, Italy, Thailand and Turkey.
“China and Japan are not sending their athletes outside their countries before the Olympics, that’s what we have heard,” a federation press statement stated.
China is currently the number one ranked side in world shooting and owing to their non-participation some of the top shooting talents will not participate, hence making the ground clearer for the Indian athletes to make a mark for themselves.
Indian shooters for the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi
10M Air Rifle Men: Divyansh Singh Panwar, Arjun Babuta, Deepak Kumar, Pankaj Kumar, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar
50M Rifle 3 Position Men: Sanjeev Rajput, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Niraj Kumar, Swapnil Kusale (MQS), Chain Singh (MQS)
10M Air Pistol Men: Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Sarabjot Singh, Ravinder Singh , Shahzar Rizvi
25M Rapid Fire Pistol Men: Vijayveer Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh, Anish Bhanwala, Arpit Goel , Adarsh Singh
Trap Men: Kynan Chenai, Lakshay, Prithviraj Tondaiman, Zoravar Singh Sandhu , Namanveer Singh Brar
Skeet Men: Angadvir Singh Bajwa, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Gurjoat Siingh Khangura, Karam Sukhbir Singh (MQS), Amrinder Singh Cheema (MQS)
10M Air Rifle Women: Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Shriyanka Sadangi (MQS), Nisha Kanwar (MQS)
50M Rifle 3 Position Women: Tejaswini Sawant, Sunidhi Chauhan, Anjum Moudgil, Gaayathri N. (MQS), Shreya Saksena (MQS)
10M Air Pistol Women: Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, P. Shri Nivetha, Shweta Singh (MQS), Esha Singh (MQS)
25M Sports Pistol Women: Manu Bhaker, Rahi Sarnobat, Chinki Yadav, Neeraj Kaur (MQS), Abhidnya Ashok Patil (MQS)
Trap Women: Rajeshwari Kumari, Shreyasi Singh, Manisha Keer, Kirti Gupta (MQS), Neeru (MQS)
Skeet Women: Ganemat Sekhon, Parinaaz Dhaliwal, Karttiki Singh Shaktawat, Darshana Rathore (MQS), Zahra Mufaddal Deesawala (MQS)
10M Air Rifle Mixed Team: Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan; Arjun Babuta and Anjum Moudgil
50M Rifle 3 Position Mixed Team: Sanjeev Rajput and Tejaswini Sawant; Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and Sunidhi Chaudhan
10M Air Pistol Mixed Team: Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker; Abhishek Verma and Yashaswini Singh Deswal
25M Rapid Fire Pistol Mixed Team: Vijayveer Sidhu and Tejaswani; Gurpreet Singh and Abhidnya Ashok Patil
Trap Mixed Team: Kynan Chenai and Rajeshwari Kumari; Lakshay and Shreyasi Singh
Skeet Mixed Team: Angadvir Singh Bajwa and Ganemat Sekhon; Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Parinaaz Dhaliwal
10M Air Rifle Men Team: Deepak Kumar, Pankaj Kumar, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar
50M Rifle 3 Position Men Team: Niraj Kumar, Swapnil Kusale, Chain Singh
10M Air Pistol Men Team: Saurabh Chaudhary, Abhishek Verma, Sarabjot Singh
25M Rapid Fire Pistol Men Team: Vijayveer Sidhu, Gurpreet Singh, Arpit Goel
Trap Men Team: Kynan Chenai, Lakshay, Prithviraj Tondaiman
Skeet Men Team: Angadvir Singh Bajwa, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Gurjoat Siingh Khangura
10m Air Rifle Women Team: Apurvi Chandela, Shriyanka Sadangi, Nisha Kanwar
50m Rifle 3 Position Women Team: Anjum Moudgil, Gaayathri N, Shreya Saksena
10m Air Pistol Women Team: Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, P. Shri Nivetha
25m Sports Pistol Women Team: Manu Bhaker, Rahi Sarnobat, Chinki Yadav
Trap Women Team: Rajeshwari Kumari, Shreyasi Singh, Manisha Keer
Skeet Women Team: Ganemat Sekhon, Parinaaz Dhaliwal, Karttiki Singh Shaktawat