Indian shooters go all out in preparation for 2016 Rio Olympics

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 17, 2015 09:40 IST
From left: Gagan Narang, Abhinav Bindra, Apurvi Chandela, Jitu Rai and Gurpreet Singh are leaving nothing to chance in their bid to make a mark at the 2016 Rio Olympics. (HT Photo)

It’s a testing time for top Indian shooters who have achieved 2016 Rio Olympic Games quota places for the country.

Right from testing ammunition in Europe to getting customised grips, the preparations are keeping at least three shooters — Apurvi Chandela, Gurpreet Singh and Jitu Rai — quite busy these days.

Since precision target-shooting equipment is manufactured in Europe, shooters are stocking up on ammo and keeping spare weapons to sustain their positions at the national level in coming months, and subsequently win a ticket to Rio.

If Chandela, a college-going air rifle shooter from Jaipur, is keeping a huge stock of air pellets, army marksman Singh, who has secured a quota place in 10m air pistol, isn’t banking on just one weapon to cement his position at the national level and get the nod for Rio.

Currently at the national level, he is ranked number one in 25m rapid fire and third in 10m air pistol. Since it takes a minimum of two months to import a new weapon, says the army shooter, he has five weapons in his cupboard. “It’s always an advantage to have more than one weapon. In case of malfunction, I wouldn’t miss training,” he told HT on the sidelines of the official announcement of the Asian Airgun Championship to be held in New Delhi from September 25.

In the buildup to the World Championship in Munich, both Singh and Rai were in Germany to get customised grips for more accuracy. Recently, the duo went to Texas for a week-long mental training camp.

And, that’s not the end of their preparations. The army shooters will soon head to Europe again to test their ammunition to give a good account of themselves in upcoming international events.

Singh added, "Right kind of equipment gives an edge. Since all top shooters the world over employ this practice, we also want to keep pace with them. Rifle shooter Chandela is also testing her endurance limits these days. Besides spending considerable time in the pool to enhance her fitness, she is also testing her heart rate during running."

On adding new training tools to withstand pressure, Chandela said, “Slower heart rate would help me cope with adverse circumstance in a better way.”

Beijing Olympic Games gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and London Olympic Games bronze medallist Gagan Narang, both of whom have also won Rio quota places, were perhaps more composed. Maybe, they know a thing or two more about handling pressure. Bindra said he would first cement his place at the national level and then continue his onward march.

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