India shooting federation announces 34-member core group for Tokyo Olympics
All 15 shooters who had earned quota places for the country in international competitions have been includedUpdated: Jun 26, 2020, 22:57 IST
India’s shooting federation announced a core group of 34 shooters in nine events on Friday for the Tokyo Olympics. All 15 quota winners were included, along with reserves. There is no representation for trap or women’s skeet, whose shooters failed to win a quota spot and had hoped the federation would switch to them quota spot/s earned by another shooter—it is for the country not individual—of the same gender.
The Olympics selection trials were held in March, just before the lockdown started, but the team announcement was held back after the Tokyo Games were postponed. The shooters, who have gone through an exhaustive selection process comprising international competition and domestic trials, had repeatedly sought clarity about the Olympics squad.
“When training resumes, it will start with the Olympic core group. The selection committee and coaches have picked the core group. We have selected two shooters in reserves apart from the quota holders,” National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary general Rajeev Bhatia said.
Asked whether any quota swap was considered, Bhatia said, “The trap shooters and in women’s skeet we have not earned any quota... In normal circumstances it (swapping) was possible, but not now.”
Manu Bhaker and Anjum Moudgil have been selected for two events each. Manu, who earned the quota in 10m air pistol, also features in 25m pistol, alongside the other quota winners, Rahi Sarnobat and Chinki Yadav. Moudgil, who got the quota in 10m air rifle, is also in 50m rifle 3 positions along with quota winner Tejaswini Sawant. Gaayathri N and Sunidhi Chauhan are the two other 3p women shooters in the core group.
In the toughest field for women’s 10m air rifle, there are three shooters who are ranked among the world’s top 10. It will be difficult for the selectors to pick the final two. World No.1 Elavenil Valarivan, is joined by Moudgil, the world No.4, and world No.7 Apurvi Chandela. Shreya Agarwal is the fourth among the core group, preferred over Mehuli Ghosh, who will be disappointed to be left out as she was exceptional in the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) section in all four World Cups.
“She will be disappointed but she will bounce back,” said Mehuli’s coach Joydeep Karmakar. “She shot high scores in MQS section in all four World Cups and would have made it to the finals had she been playing in the main team. All these young shooters are very close in terms of their performances, so it will always be a difficult choice. But I think preference should be given to one who is shooting in international competitions, even if it is MQS, rather than domestic trials scores,” the Olympian said.
In 25m rapid fire pistol, world No.12 Anish Bhanwala, who has all but confirmed a quota on the weight of his ranking, has been selected in the core group with Vijayveer Singh kept in the reserves.
National coach Deepali Deshpande said announcing the core group will allow the shooters and coaches to focus on the Olympic preparation. “The shooters and coaches will get more clarity on how to go about things. At least, now the focus will be on these people. We need to keep them in good form so that whenever sports resumes there should be some base from where they can start. We can get back to the drawing board, work on their fitness and technical issues,” she said.
Training Core Group for Tokyo Olympics
50m rifle 3p: Aishwarya Pratap Singh, Parul Kumar, Sanjeev Rajput, Swapnil Kusale
10m rifle: Deepak Kumar, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Pankaj Singh, Sandeep Singh
25m rapid fire pistol: Anish Bhanwala, Vijayveer Singh
10m Pistol men: Abhishek Verma, Om Prakash Mitharwal, Saurabh Chaudhary, Shahzar Rizvi
Skeet: Angadvir Bajwa, Gurjot Singh, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Sheeraz Sheikh
50m rifle 3p: Anjum Moudgil, Gaayathri N, Sunidhi Chauhan, Tejawini Sawant
10m rifle: Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan, Shreya Agarwal
25m pistol: Abhidnya Patil, Chinki Yadav, Manu Bhaker, Rahi Sarnobat
10m pistol: Anuraj Singh, Esha Singh, Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh