IN HEARTENING news for India, four of its top marksmen are among global probables short-listed to bag medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Trap marksman Manavjit Singh Sandhu, double trap exponent R.V.S. Rathore and the 10m air rifle duo of Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang are among the list of elite shooters who have been short-listed by the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) to bag medals in the quadrennial event.
The ISSF has chosen the best 25 in each category — called “Super 25” — and analysed their performance over the last four years in various World Cups, the World Championship at Zagreb in 2006 and the World Championship finals. However, none of the other five qualifiers — trap shooter Mansher Singh, rifle markswomen Anjali Bhagwat and Avneet Kaur Sidhu, pistol shooter and 2006 Commonwealth Games hero Samresh Jung and men’s rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput — figure in the “Super 25s” in their respective categories. This is because they have not won medals in either the World Cups or the World Championships and have secured quota places by virtue of finishing below the medals bracket.
The ISSF release, titled “Choose your medal favorites from the Super 25” also has some other Indian names — Sonia Rai (air pistol), Ronjan Sodhi (double-trap) and Zorawar Singh (trap) — in the elite list, by virtue of having won medals in the Worlds but were unlucky to miss out on Olympic quota berths.
The ISSF could have done a better job of the “Super 25s”, had it not included the names of scores of shooters worldwide who have not qualified for the Games but have won medals, as all those who have clinched Olympic quota places are not necessarily medal winners at the World Cups or World Championships.
The theme — On the road to Beijing…choose your medal favorites —then would have looked much better.