After a good haul of nine medals (two gold, four silver and three bronze) from the Asian Games in Indonesia, Indian’s top shooters will now train their sights on the International Shooting Sport Federation World Shooting Championship in Korea.
The 2018 World Championships are an important milestone for shooting as the tournament marks the beginning of qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. There will be 60 quota spots available for the next Olympic Games at the competition starting from September 2.
There will be 15 shooting events at the Tokyo Games – six men, six women and three mixed. The World Championship will award four direct entries in the men’s and women’s events while the mixed team will have two spots.
Overall, there will be a total of 1806 shooters representing 90 National Olympic Committees and piling up 3457 starts in 66 events in Changwon, according to the official site.
India have fielded a strong squad with 91 junior and senior shooters. But all eyes will be on the seniors competing in the 12 Olympic events. With four entries in each event, the aim will be to finish at the top even if they don’t win a medal.
The Changwon International Shooting centre had also hosted an ISSF World Cup earlier this year where eight Indians had reached seven finals, but only Shahzar Rizvi won a medal – a silver in the men’s 10m air pistol.
The Indian team for the World Championships wears a slightly different look than the one at Asian Games. A country can field three shooters in each discipline at the world championship, so India has added a few seasoned names to the list, especially in the non-Olympic events.
Many of the juniors who featured at Asian Games will not compete in the senior category in Chnagwon, including Asiad gold medallist Saurabh Chaudhary. However, there are still several teenagers and young guns in the contingent who will look to get a head start en route their Olympic dreams.
Also in action will be the veterans in the sport, including 2010 London Olympic medallists Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar as well as Tejaswini Sawant, Mairaj Ahmed Khan and Gurpeet Singh.
Here’s a look at India’s senior squad for the ISSF World Championship:
Ravi Kumar and Deepak Kumar will be joined by with Narang in the air rifle while the veteran will also shoot in prone along with Chain Singh and Sanjeev Rajput. The 3 position Asiad silver medallist will be joined by Akhil Sheoran and Swapnil Kusale in the event.
In the women’s team will feature Anjum Moudgill in all three categories – air rifle, 3 position and prone. Tejaswini Sawant (prone), Shreya Saksena (3 positions and prone) will be added while Commonwealth medallist Mehuli Ghosh will replace Elavenil Valarivan in air rifle. N Gaayathri will also shoot in 3 positions.
Ravi and Chandela, who won the bronze at the Asian Games, and Deepak and Ghosh will shoot in the air rifle mixed team event.
World No 1 Shahzar Rizvi and CWG medallist Om Prakash Mitharval will join Abhishek Verma, who won the bronze at Asiad on his India in air pistol. This also means that teenager Saurabh Chaudhary, who was the surprise gold medallist in Indonesia, will miss out in the senior squad.
Shivam Shukla and Anish Bhanwala will be joined by Gurpreet Singh in rapid fire pistol. Among the non-Olympic events. Gurpreet Singh, Vijay Kumar and Amanpreet Singh will form the standard pistol squad while Vijay, Bhanwala and Gurpreet will shoot centre fire as well.
Among the women, Manu Bhaker and Heena Sindhu headline the team with Asiad gold medallist Rahi Sarnobat added to the spot pistol while Shweta Singh is added to the sports pistol squad. Verma and Bhaker will form the mixed team in Korea as well, along with Rizvi and Sidhu.
Zoravar Singh Sandhu joins the trap team, while Mohammad Abas will be the third member of the double trap squad. The trap women team will field Varsha Varman, Shreyasi Singh, and Seema Tomar. Lakshay and Shreyasi, Manavjit and Seema will be the two mixed teams.
Shardul Vihaan, the 15-year-old who won silver in double trap, will be joined by Ankur Mittal will play his final competitions in double trap, before shifting to trap to focus on the Olympics.Mohammad Abas will be the third member of the double trap squad.
The men’s trap team will feature Zoravar Singh Sandhu along with Asiad silve rmedallist Lakshay Sheoran and former world champion. Manavjit Singh Sandhu. In the women’s team, Shreyasi Singh, Seema Tomar and Varsha Varman will compete in trap.
The two mixed trap teams will be Lakshay and Shreyasi and Manavjit and Seema.
Sheeraz Sheikh and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa will be joined by Mairaj Ahmad Khan in men’s skeet while the women’s team will have Ganemat Sekhon, Rashmi Rathore and Maheshwari Chauhan.