Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 18 February, when a total of 16 Olympic quota places were available from the Shooting World Cup. It’s now being updated to reflect the fact that two of those have been revoked in the wake of Pakistan contingent’s visa denial over Pulwama terror attacks.
The upcoming International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in New Delhi is a significant tournament for Indian shooting. Played on home soil at the Dr Karni Singh Range, the first ISSF World Cup of 2019 has a total of *14 Tokyo 2020 Olympics quota places up for grabs (after two were revoked for 25m rapid fire pistol).
Hosts India are fielding a 23-member squad with 11 shooters in the non-competition Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category.
(Note: India are eligible for 12 Olympic quotas out of the 14 on offer as two were earned in the World Championships last year in women’s 10m air rifle)
10m air rifle women
Apurvi Chandela is one of only two Indian shooters who has won a quota place for the 2020 Olympics when she missed a medal by a whisker while finishing fourth at the ISSF Shooting World Championships in 2018. Days before, she had opened the medal tally for India at the Asian Games when won the bronze medal in the 10m air rifle mixed team. Her first big breakthrough was back in 2014 when she won the gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with a games record score. She won her first ISSF World Cup medal in 2015 when she became the first Indian woman shooter to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. In 2018, she won the bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast but narrowly missed her first World Cup gold in a dramatic fashion when finished fourth at the ISSF World Cup in Munich.
The highlight of Anjum Moudgil’s breakthrough 2018 season was winning a silver in the Shooting World Championship and securing an Olympic quota place for India. In the last one year, the 24-year-old won silver in 50m Rifle 3 Positions at the first ISSF World Cup of the year in Mexico and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast as well. But she capped it with gold – making a clean sweep of all rifle events at the shooting nationals in Thiruananatpuram. In 2017, she had similarly won five gold medals at the nationals. She will also be taking part in 50m Rifle 3P, but only as MQS shooter. Read more
In a span of one year, teenager Elavenil Valarivan has made rapid progress to break into the India squad in the most competitive category of women’s shooting in the country. At the recent selection trials, she pipped Mehuli Ghosh. In 2017, the Ahmadabad-based shooter was a surprise national champion and a month earlier, she had topped the national selection. In 2018, she won back-to-back Junior World Cup golds. On the national circuit, she shot 253.0 in the final, which is higher than the current world record of 252.4. She has also won a junior silver at the Asian Championships along with a mixed team gold. Read her profile here.
10m air rifle men
Deepak Kumar has been the most consistent 10m air rifle shooter after Ravi Kumar in the last year. His biggest win came at the Asian Games last year when he won the silver in men’s 10 air rifle. In 2017, he claimed a bronze medal in the 10m air rifle at Commonwealth Shooting Championships in Brisbane. He narrowly missed out his first ISSF World Cup medal in 2018, when he won the mixed team bronze with Mehuli Ghosh in Mexico. A Sanskrit expert who studied at a gurukul, the 31-year-old is making the most of his time in the Indian team. Read more
Ravi Kumar has been among India’s most consistent rifle shooters in the last year since winning his first international medal, a bronze at the Asian Airgun Championships in 2017. The shooter from Uttar Pradesh, who is affiliated with the Air Force, is the reigning national champion in the event as well. At the 2014 Asiad, he was part of the team with Abhinav Bindra and Sanjeev Rajput that won the bronze medal in 10m air rifle. In 2018, he bagged his first World Cup medal in Mexico, following it with a Commonwealth bronze and a mixed team bronze at the Asiad.
Divyasnh Singh Panwar is a 16-year-old who has made rapid strides on the national circuit. As a junior, he won silver at the Asian Championship as well as the mixed team bronze at the Shooting World Championship in 2018. He followed it by winning all the 10m air rifle events including the senior men’s, youth men’s and junior men’s events national selection trials 1 and 2 in December and won four gold at the National Shooting Championship. He has even bettered the world record in an unofficial tournament in Mumbai.
50m rifle 3 position women
Gaayathri Nithyanadam had done well in the juniors, clinching two World Cup bronze medals in 2016, along with a team gold. While she has not had a huge impact on the senior international level as yet, the shooter from Coimbatore stormed to the national title in women’s 50m Rifle 3 Position after clinched silver in the juniors in 2016. In 2015, she had gold in the juniors and a bronze in the senior. At KSS Memorial Shooting Championship earlier in 2018, she won the gold for Tamil Nadu.
At 38, Tejaswini Sawant is one of the oldest Indians in the squad making her way back to the top after a brief derailment of her career in the early part of this decade. She had become the first Indian woman to win World Championship gold back in 2010. She also has an ISSF World Cup bronze along with three silver and gold medals in CWG. But a dip in form, family issues and adjustment after marriage took its toll as she fell down the ladder as youngster stars came up. But in 2018, she made a successful comeback wining gold at the Commonwealth Games as well as gold in the discontinued 50m rifle prone at the ISSF World Cup in Munich. Read more
Sunidhi Chauhan is a 21-year-old from Madhya Pradesh who ranked high in the last three trials and the nationals. She had also won the bronze at the 2018 national championships.
50m rifle 3 position men
Chain Singh is a World Cup veteran shooter who represents the Army Marksman Unit on the national level. He had won the bronze at the Asian Games as well as the gold at the Asian Championships in 2014. In 2018, he clinched the silver at the World Cup silver in rifle prone at the Munich World Cup. At the KSS Memorial Shooting Championship in June, he pipped Gagan Narang to clinch the gold.
Sanjeev Rajput, 38, is among the most experienced shooters in the Indian squad. In 2018, he clinched a silver medal at the Asian Games as well the gold medal in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions event with a games record at the CWG. The Indian Navy sailor started his shooting career in 2001 and has consistently been among the top Indians at the 50m rifle events. He has won a gold and two silver medals at ISSF World Cup apart from medals of all hues at CWG and four at the Asiad. The shooter was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2010.
Parul Kumar is a 26-year-old from the Air Force who had consistently high scores in the last four selection trails that helped him break into the team as India No 3. He won the bronze medal at the National Shooting Championship and went to win the men’s 50m rifle prone trials beating Sanjeev Rajput.
10m air pistol women
Only 16, Manu Bhaker is one of India’s brightest young shooters and has backed that with consistent showing throughout the last year. She announced her arrival at the senior stage in an emphatic manner winning the individual and team gold at the Mexico World Cup in 2018. She then dominated the CWG final to win the gold defeating veteran Heena Sidhu by a margin of six-plus points. She added the Youth Olympics gold to her 2018 tally, after a disappointing Asian Games. Bhaker also won double gold at the ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney as well as a world record gold in Suhl. This was a continuation from 2017 where she won nine golds and broke the national record at the nationals. She managed only a pistol silver in 2018 but won junior and senior gold at national selection trials in December 2018.
Heena Sindhu is one of India’s most successful female shooters with medals at ISSF World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games Asian Championship as well as a world record and the world No 1 ranking. She won her first ISSF World Cup medal in 2009 and followed it with two more at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Her best performance came in 2013 when she the ISSF World Cup Finals with a world record score. When the mixed team event was first announced in 2017, she and Jitu Rai won three gold medals, including the crystal globe in the ISSF World Cup Final. In 2018, she won the 25m pistol gold and 10m air pistol silver at CWG and as well as her first individual medal at the Asian Games. Later in the year, she won second selection trials after equalling qualification world record. Read more
Anuradha is one the new faces in the Indian team. The 28-year-old represents the Navy and had high scores in the nationals and two trials, leaving behind the likes of world junior champion Yashaswini Deswal, Shri Nivetha and Annu Raj Singh.
10m air pistol men
Saurabh Chaudhary, 16, is one of the Indian shooting’s biggest teen success stories. He won the Asian Games gold in an extremely competitive field on his senior debut. His rise has been meteoric since then. He won the Youth Olympic Games gold in December to add to his gold medals at the Asian Games, Asian championship as well as the Junior World Championship. At the latest section trials, he kept the momentum sweeping both senior and junior categories. He actually scored 4.6 points above the world record to win the trial. At the KSS Shooting Championship in 2017, the then 15-year-old beat Jitu Rai in the 10m air pistol final, after getting silver medals in the junior and youth event on the same day. Read more
Abhishek Verma was among the unlikeliest medallists at the Asian Games. He started shooting as a hobby shooter, decided to turn professional, made his international debut for India straight at the Asiad but went on to clinch the bronze. Before picking up a pistol, Verma has tried his hand at law, Indian Administrative Service and computer science. However, he found his true calling once he moved from his native Haryana to Gurgaon to train with coach Omendra Singh at the Eklavya Sports Shooting Academy. The Nationals at the end of 2017 was the turning point of sorts as he put in some consistent scores since the 2018 season began which has kept him in the team. Read more
Ravinder Singh is a 21-year-old pistol shooter from the Army who is among the new faces in the Indian team. He made his way to the World Cup by consistent showing in the national selection trials and nationals.
25m pistol women
Rahi Sarnobat became the first Indian woman to win a shooting gold at the Asian Games last year, almost year after her career had gone astray. The current national champion became the first Indian pistol shooter to win a gold at the World Cup in 2013. She is also the first Indian woman to seal an Olympic quota in sport pistol when she won the bronze at Fort Benning World Cup in 2011. The Maharashtra shooter has also won back-to-back gold medals at the 2010 Delhi and 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. But in 2015, she had to take nearly a year-long break from the range due to injury and her form dipped subsequently. She had mixed results in 2017 and early 2018, but she finished fourth at the World Cup in Changwon, narrowly missing the bronze which kick-started her resurgence. Read more
Chinki Yadav is a 21-year-old from Madhya Pradesh who was part of India’s bronze medal winning team at the in the junior world championship. She has represented India in World Cups and championship at the junior level as well. Her personal coach is Vaid Prakash while she also trains under national junior coach Jaspal Rana.
Manu Bhaker will be participating in the 25m pistol event as well.
25m rapid fire pistol men
Note: No Olympic quota in this event.
Only 16, Anish Bhanwala is youngest Indian to win a gold medal in Commonwealth Games, with a Games record score. He first shot into national limelight when he shot a junior world record score of 579 to secure the gold at the 2017 ISSF Junior World Championship. He won another gold, two silver and one bronze medal for India in the successful campaign. He followed it up with a silver in men’s 25m Rapid Fire Commonwealth Shooting Championships in Australia, coming up against senior shooters. Later that year, he clinched first senior national crown, beating veteran shooters in the field. At the ISSF Junior World Cup in 2018, he won one individual gold and one team silver in 25m Rapid Fire Junior Men. Read more
Arpit Goel is a 26-year-old from Delhi who excelled in three trials and the nationals. He grabbed the gold at the 2018 KSS Memorial Shooting Championship. Interestingly, Goel, who has been shooting since 2005, is not a Rapid Fire shooter and used to compete on the 10m event. He was fascinated by this discipline and shifted when he got the chance. The Delhi-based shooter also runs a business of shooting equipment that keeps his passion for the sport alive. Read more
Adarsh Singh, 17, will be making his senior debut emerging as one of India’s Rapid Fire shooters after winning the national championships in December. The Haryana shooter clinched gold, getting the better CWG medallist Anish Bhanwala. He has also won a silver and a bronze at the 2018 ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney. The teen had topped the podium in both the 25m Standard Pistol senior and junior category at the 18th KSS Memorial Shooting Championship. As a child, he used played cricket and badminton but severe pain around the spine due to a birth defect made him eventually take up the pistol instead. Read more