At the Melbourne Commonwealth Games four years ago, Indian shooters had contributed 27 medals, including 14 gold. A couple of months later, at the Doha Asian Games, their share had shrunk to 14, which included three gold.
After the rich haul of 30 medals at the Delhi CWG, there is speculation on the medal count at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, which gets underway from Friday. "Repeating the CWG performance will be difficult. If we talk of a realistic target in China, the count will be around 15," said trap shooter, Mansher Singh, a veteran of six Asian Games.
Gagan Narang, who won four gold in Delhi, was of the same opinion. "The Games will be tough and competing against the Chinese in their own country will be a challenge. I am training hard but at the same time we can't ignore the tough opposition we will be up against in all the events," Narang had said during a felicitation ceremony last week.
Of late, China have emerged as a powerhouse in shooting and in this year’s Worlds, they topped the tally with 52 medals, including 21 gold. Another contender, South Korea, had 17 medals, including four gold. India's count was two gold and a bronze. "In the last three Games, we won silver in the trap team event, and on all the occasions China did not have a trap team. Being the hosts, they are now focusing on all the events and their trap shooters are also doing well.
"Having said that, we are not wary of the Chinese and if all goes well, we will surely win the team gold and hopefully add one or two medals in the individual event. India are also doing well in double trap, especially Ronjan Sodhi, so it will also add to the country's medals' tally," said Mansher.
Trap and double trap have always been India's strengths among Asian countries. Winning medals in pistol and rifle, however, will be uphill task.
Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra (10m air rifle) was not up to the mark at the CWG, but he cannot be underestimated. On several occasions, he has proved that on his day he can be unbeatable.
Young shooter Heena Sidhu, who won the individual silver in 10m pistol event at Delhi, is another medal prospect. She has consistently been firing in the range of 383-85 and another couple of points can land her on the podium.
Tejaswani Sawant, who won the World Championship gold in 50 rifle prone this year, did not perform well at the CWG and managed a team bronze. For a medal at the Asiad, she would have to replicate her World Championship form.