Five Olympians, a host of young shooters graduating to the senior level, a debutant, and a veteran competing at the highest level since mid-1990s. The 53-member Indian contingent for the 2023 ISSF Shooting World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, is an intricate blend of youth and experience.

They will all be in action when the medal rounds of the competition begins on Thursday, August 17.

Of the 53 though, only 16 shooters were part of the previous edition of the World Championships.

Interestingly, in another show of the depth of the Indian squad, reigning world champion Rudrannksh Patil in men’s 10m air rifle, Swapnil Kusale in men’s 50m rifle 3 positions, and Bhowneesh Mendiratta in men’s trap – the three standout performers for India last year – will not be in action in Baku. The trio are, so far, the only Indian shooters to have won quotas for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

In Baku, there is a chance for more quota places for the elite event next year.

The focus will be on the likes of Divyansh Singh Panwar, Esha Singh, Ramita, Sarabjot Singh, and others – all of whom have a good deal of experience in international competitions, but will make their senior World Championships debut over the next few days. A total of 12 Indian shooters, a majority of whom have won medals at the junior Worlds, will make their senior World Championships debut in Baku.

On the other hand, Zorawar Singh Sandhu, who competed in the 1998 World Championships, makes a return to the event after a five-year gap.

Ganemat Sekhon, the rising women’s skeet shooter, also makes a return to the senior side after having won medals in the junior section during the 2021 edition in Lima. She had made her senior Worlds championships debut at Changwon in 2018.

Divya TS, in women’s 25m pistol, is the only member of the contingent who is yet to compete at a World Championships in any level.

There will also be a focus on on the likes of Manu Bhaker, Aishwarya Pratap Singh Tomar, Sift Kaur Samra, and Panwar – all of whom clinched medals at the recently concluded World University Games in China and will look to carry forward their good form at the World Championships.

With a total of 48 quota places for the 2024 Paris Olympics up for grabs, a total of four Olympians – Panwar, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, Bhaker, and Tomar will look to book their spot at the quadrennial event for the second consecutive time.

The 2016 Rio Olympian Kynan Chenai will also aim to make it to his second Olympics after having missed out in Tokyo.

Quota goes to the country

Though the athletes will be aiming to win Olympic quotas in individual events, any berth secured for the Paris Games will go to National Olympic Committee. In other words, Patil, Mediratta and Kusale won the quota for India, which does not guarantee them a spot in the Olympics as the national federation may choose to allot the quota to a different shooter.

Furthermore, each shooter can earn only one quota for their country in an event. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Patil, Mediratta, and Kusale were not added to the Baku squad, in an attempt to maximise India’s quota chances for the 2024 Olympic Games.

With veterans like Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil and others failing to make it to the squad, youngsters like Mehuli Ghosh, Tilotamma Sen, and Ramita will look to secure Olympic quotas for India and put themselves firmly in the mix come the quadrennial event next year.

A country can earn 24 quotas – 12 each in men and women’s section. However with some of the best shooters from across the world flocking down to Baku with a similar intent, the World Championships is expected to be a highly competitive, quality competition.

Indian Squad for 2023 Shooting World Championships

Men’s 50m rifle 3 positions: Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Akhil Sheoran, Niraj Kumar

Men’s 10m air rifle: Divyansh Singh Panwar, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Hriday Hazarika

Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol: Anish, Vijayveer Sidhu, Adarsh Singh 

Men’s 10m air pistol: Sarabjot Singh, Shiva Narwal, Arjun Singh Cheema

Men’s Trap: Kynan Chenai, Prithviraj Tondaiman, Zoravar Singh Sandhu

Men’s Skeet: Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, Gurjoat Khangura, Anant Jeet Singh Naruka

Women’s 50m rifle 3 positions: Sift Kaur Samra, Ashi Chouksey, Manini Kaushik

Women’s 10m air rifle: Ramita, Mehuli Ghosh, Tilottama Sen

Women’s 25m pistol: Rhythm Sangwan, Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh 

Women’s 10m air pistol: Divya TS, Esha Singh, Palak 

Women’s Trap: Manisha Keer, Rajeshwari Kumari, Preeti Rajak

Women’s Skeet: Ganemat Sekhon, Parinaaz Dhaliwal, Darshna Rathore