Ace Indian pistol shooter Jitu Rai is hardly bothered with the fact that the International Shooting Sport Federation is yet to finalise the format of the mixed-team events ahead of the Pistol, Air Rifle and Shotgun World Cup Final beginning Monday in New Delhi.

“We are still coming to terms with the format [of mixed-team events] because the ISSF is constantly tweaking the rules in search of the best one,” Jitu was reported as saying by PTI. “But that hardly bothers [me] because my job is to shoot and that is what I can do. My job is to prepare and respond according to situations without worrying about other factors.”

The ISSF has included the mixed-team events for the World Cup. Mixed gender events in air rifle, air pistol and trap have also been included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Programme, following the guidelines of the International Olympic Committee’s Agenda 2020, embracing gender equality in sports.

This year, mixed gender team events were included as test events at two ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol stages and at three World Cup Shotgun stages, but medals in these events will count at the tournament in New Delhi.

Rai, who has won silver in both World Cup and World Championships, said his dream is to win the elusive gold in the World Championships. Asked about his own form, he said, “My performance is the same. It has neither improved nor deteriorated. I have managed to maintain it.”

The Indian pair of Rai and Heena Sidhu have won the Air Pistol mixed-team title at the ISSF World Cups in Gabala and New Delhi and the duo will spearhead the host nation’s challenge in the event beginning Monday as well.

“Mixed events are no different from individual because the basics remain the same,” said Sidhu. “We would need to work more because in mixed events you need a lot of strategy and tactics.”

As many as nine champions across 15 events from last year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games are in the fray at the World Cup Final in Delhi, besides three former champions. Two among them – Greece’s 21-year-old air pistol champion Anna Korakaki and Germany’s Christian Reitz – are also among the 11 title-defenders who will be seen in action.

Hosts India have a total of 10 competitors across three disciplines, including current world No 1 double trap shooter Ankur Mittal and reigning Asian Games champion and former No 1 men’s pistol ace Rai.

Sidhu, a former 2013 ISSF WCF winner in the women’s 10m air pistol, will be gunning for an encore, this time in the mixed-team air pistol event, partnering Rai.

Ravi Kumar and Pooja Ghatkar have also qualified in the top draw in men’s and women’s 10m air rifle events respectively. A total of 162 athletes from 45 ISSF member federations will be competing at the event.

Indian squad

Jitu Rai (10m Pistol Men, 50m Pistol Men, Mixed team Air Pistol), Amanpreet Singh (50m Pistol Men), Pooja Ghatkar (10m Air Rifle Women), Ravi Kumar (10m Air Rifle Men), Ankur Mittal (Double Trap Men), Shapath Bharadwaj (Double Trap Men), Sangram Dahiya (Double Trap Men), Heena Sidhu (Mixed Team Air Pistol), Meghana Sajjanar (Mixed Team Air Rifle), Deepak Kumar (Mixed Team Air Rifle).