Young shooters gunning for Asian glory

Success in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast and the steady improvement in training has given the shooters hopes of bettering their previous performances in the Asian Games.

Background

Shooting is the fourth most productive sport for India at the Asian Games just behind Athletics, Boxing, and Wrestling. Shooting provided a large amount of glory for India at the Asian

Games. Indians have managed to win 49 medals – 7 Gold, 17 Silver and 25 Bronze at the various editions of Asian Games over the years.

Being one of the heavyweight sports for India, all eyes on will be Indian shooters. Exciting fact is teen’s fill in the squad and also looks confident to bag medals.

15-year-old Anish Banwala, in April became youngest Indian to win a gold medal in Commonwealth Games. Along Anish, 16-year-old Manu Bhaker and 19-year-old Elavenil Valarivan are also in red-hot form.

Chaos and confusion

The build-up to Asian games, already seen much chaos along with Heena Sindhu bashing federation about the selection. The former world no-1 showed her disappointment when she was pushed to India’s no-2 and wasn’t awarded a mixed team spot.

She commented that favouritism is creeping in. Manu Bhaker is the one who will be representing India in 10m air mixed air pistol event replacing Heena Sindhu.

Big names like Gagan Narang and Jitu Rai doesn’t make the cut for this year Asian games, which is both disappointing and surprising from fans view.

There is also no place in the squad for the current world No 1 10m air pistol shooter Shahzar Rizvi. Joydeep Karmakar also rose questioned on the selection of Elavenil Valarivan and commented on Mehuli Ghosh left out. Abhishek Whole selection process itself is questionable, but now the main focus should be on winning medals for Indian shooters.

Other then selection chaos, India also needs to face a big blow when the organizers decided to drop some events from the competition. The discontinued events include men’s 25m centre fire pistol (individual and team, men’s 10m air rifle (team), women’s 25m pistol (team), women’s trap (team), and women’s double trap (team) among a host of others.

What to expect

Though India bagged record 16 medals in commonwealth games 2018, the field in Asian games is completely different. Every individual needs to be in his top form to win a medal at Asian games.  India’s performance at 2014 Incheon was below par, winning just one gold medal in shooting and also pushed to the 8th place in shooting medal ranking. Jitu Rai was the lone Gold medalist.

India’s best medal hopes

Manu Bhaker

The 16-year-old Manu Bhaker created history earlier this year by becoming the youngest Indian to win a shooting World Cup gold medal at 10m-air pistol event. She also won the mixed event with Om Prakash Mitharwal to come home as a two-time world champion. Her form continued to the Commonwealth Games where she added another gold to her tally winning in the 10m-air pistol in Gold Coast. Bhaker will compete in three events—10m-air pistol, 25m air pistol and mixed air pistol at the Asian Games. Asian games would be a real test for her, as now the expectation is also high and as such competition too. Since Manu won a world cup medal, she is aware of such high competitive level. Thus, if Manu maintains the pressure and her splendid form, this would be the right place to make her mark and announce her entrance in the senior circuit.

Heena Sindhu

Heena Sindhu is one of India’s most successful female shooters with gold medals at ISSF World Cups, Commonwealth Games, Asian Championship as well as the world record and the world No 1 ranking in her career so far. Two-time Asian medalist, former world no-1 Heena Sidhu will aim to win that elusive gold medal at Asian games. 28 years old who is coached by her husband Ronak Pandit, notched silver at 10m-air pistol individual and gold at 10 m air pistol event mixed event. Since Manu Bhaker will be representing India in the mixed team, Heena Sindhu will be participating lone event, Women’s 10m-air pistol. Winning a Gold will be the right way to overcome all the controversies that been put on selection against NRAI for Heena.

Here is the list of Indian shooters for the Asian Games

RIFLE

Men

3 Positions: Sanjeev Rajput, Akhil Sheoran;

Air Rifle: Ravi Kumar, Deepak Kumar;

300m Standard Rifle: Harjinder Singh, Amit Kumar;

Air Rifle Mixed: Ravi Kumar, Apurvi Chandela.

Women

3 Positions: Anjum Moudgil, Gaayathri N;

Air Rifle: Apurvi, Elavenil Valarivan.

PISTOL

Men

Air Pistol: Abhishek Verma, Saurabh Chaudhary;

Rapid Fire Pistol: Shivam Shukla, Anish;

Air Pistol Mixed: Abhishek Verma, Manu Bhaker.

Women

Air Pistol: Manu Bhaker, Heena Sidhu;

Sports Pistol: Rahi Sarnobat, Manu Bhaker.

SHOTGUN

Men

Trap: Lakshay, Manavjit Singh Sandhu;

Skeet: Sheeraz Sheikh, Angadwir Bajwa;

Double trap: Ankur Mittal, Shradul Vihaan;

Trap Mixed: Lakshay, Shreyasi Singh.

Women

Trap: Shreyasi Singh, Seema Tomar;

Skeet: Ganemat Sekhon, Rashmmi Rathore;

Double Trap: Shreyasi Singh, Varsha Varman.

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Source: Matchday Frolics
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