2008 Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra announced on Wednesday that he has decided to skip the Asian Olympic qualification shooting event, to be held in New Delhi early next year, to give his other fellow countrymen a chance to qualify for the Rio Games.
The competition to be held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range from January 25 to February 3 will be an Olympic qualification event and Bindra has already earned a quota place for Rio Games.
“My absence will give others a chance to win an Olympic quota for India. Am also not shooting in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category as it makes no sense to me,” Bindra, who won a gold in men’s 10m air rifle event in 2008 Beijing Olympics, was quoted as saying by a website.
The final 35 Rio Olympics quota places for Asian nations will be up for grabs at the event, across three shooting disciplines of shotgun, rifle and pistol.
Not only Bindra but some of the other big names like current Olympic and world champion Jong Oh Jin of Korea will also be giving this competition a miss. Jong Oh had competed in the Asian Shooting Championship at Kuwait in November.
“I am not going for the Olympic Qualification competition in Delhi, Korean shooters who do not have a quota are going for this competition,” Jong Oh Jin said.
Apart from Bindra, the other two quota winners for India, Apurvi Chandela and Mairaj Khan will also not be seen in action.
Hosts India have registered 64 shooters including quota winners Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai, Prakash Nanjappa, Chain Singh and Gurpreet Singh. Vijay Kumar, Heena Sidhu and Manavjit Sandhu are also part of the Indian team.
Gagan, Chain and Gurpreet will only be shooting in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) category.
China’s top shooters, including current world champion and world number one men’s air rifle, Yang Haoran, multiple Olympic medallist in men’s air rifle Zhu Qinan and current Olympic champion and world number one women’s air rifle shooter Yi Siling have also not been registered for the competition.
However, China, who had not participated in the 8th Asian Airgun Championship, held at the same venue in September, will be sending a 15-member team out of which 12 are in the shotgun events while the other three shooters will be competing in the men’s 50m rifle prone.