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Shooters to reap good harvest

When Bruce Quick, one of the top pistol shooters in Australia, predicted that Indians are the favourites to shoot down most of the medals at the Commonwealth Games, one would have scoffed it off as just a statement attempted to flatter.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 03:45 IST

When Bruce Quick, one of the top pistol shooters in Australia, predicted that Indians are the favourites to shoot down most of the medals at the Commonwealth Games, one would have scoffed it off as just a statement attempted to flatter.

But the profundity and earnestness with which he had uttered those words, and keeping in mind India's record at the Games, the significance of his words cannot be ignored.

For the record, the Indian shooters were the top medal-hunters at the Manchester Games with 27 medals out of the 69 the country had won. And this time with the inclusion of some young and talented shooters like Tejeswani and Avneet Kaur Sidhu, the picture seems more than perfect for a repeat of 2002.

The shooting events start on Friday and the only nation that could give India a tough time will be the hosts. "We should be getting more medals than Manchester," predicted Indian coach Sunny Thomas.

On Friday, Thomas felt, India should get at least five medals in the five pairs event. "As far as the Commonwealth Games records are concerned, if we shoot around 596, which Gagan Narang and Abhinav Bindra were capable of, we should be winning the gold," said Thomas on the eve of the competition.

However, he felt, the weather could spring a few surprises. "The weather was warm just a few days ago and now it's suddenly changed and dipped. The wind is another factor that might just give us some worry," said Thomas. "But we are ready."

The Indian challenge will be led by none other than Lt Col RVS Rathore, the Olympic silver medalist in double trap. "We have been doing consistently well and hope to do even better this time," said Rathore, whose event starts on March 19 at Lylledale -- 150km away from Melbourne.

Tejeswani, who has been one of the most consistent performers among the young crop, will open her campaign in the pairs event on Friday. "I am prepared and should be doing well," said Tejeswani.

Even Avneet Kaur was upbeat about her chances. "We should do well in the 10m air rifle," she said.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 03:35 IST