Mairaj Ahmad Khan grabs India’s first Olympic Quota in Skeet

Mairaj Ahmad Khan grabs India’s first Olympic Quota in Skeet

  
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Mairaj Ahmad Khan

Skeet shooting in India has always been in the shadow of trap and double trap. It has always been considered as the weakest events of Indian shooting. On Thursday a forty-year-old man named Mairaj Ahmad Khan changed this notion and made every skeet shooter in India proud by winning the country’s first ever Olympic quota in skeet. This is India’s eighth Olympic quota for Rio Olympics and the first from shotgun.

The veteran skeet shooter grabbed the Olympic quota at the ISSF Shotgun World Championship, being held at Lonato, Italy.

Mairaj shot a qualification score of 122 (25,25,24,24,24) out of a maximum possible 125 and tied with five others on the same score. A six-way shoot-off was required to determine the remaining four finalists, Mairaj could not qualify for the finals but his seventh place finish was good enough for an Olympic berth as all the six finalists had already booked their Rio berths. Mairaj secured one of the two available quota places on offer today. The other quota went to Germany’s Ralf Buchheim, who ended at eighth position.

Speaking to indianshooting.com, Mairaj said, “I was very sure that one day I will win the Olympic Quota for India and I am happy that I could win it for my country at the World Championship competing with the top shooters of the World”.

Noida based Mairaj, who hails from the ‘Ceramic City’ of Khurja in the Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, had previously won a team gold in men’s skeet at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.

It may be noted that Mairaj had been consistent through the season with scores of 121, 120, 118 and 117 in the four ISSF World Cups this season.

The other Indian shooters, Amrinder Cheema (118) who finished with a perfect round of 25, and Smit Singh (115) were placed 36th and 71st respectively.

Among the juniors, Anantjeet Singh Naruka had a chance to make the final but a last round of 21 pulled him down to a total of 115. Arjun Mann (109) and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa (106) were below par.

The other quota winners from India’s shooting squad thus far are former Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra, Olympic bronze medalist Gagan Narang, Pistol aces Jitu Rai and Gurpreet Singh, Prakash Nanjappa, Chain Singh and Apurvi Chandela.

India’s next and last chance to secure Olympic quotas will come up at the Asian Shooting Championships in November, which are slated to be held in Kuwait.

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