India’s Olympic-bound rifle and pistol shooters will take part in the International Shooting Sport Federation’s (ISSF) final World Cup of this year beginning here from Thursday, their last competitive outing before the Tokyo Games.
The first day of competitions has four finals, basically all the individual 10m air events in rifle and pistol lined up, and will see as many as 11 from the ountry vying for the coveted ISSF World Cup medal.
India have fielded three participants in each of the four medal events on Thursday, barring the men’s 10m air pistol, where they have two shooters in world numbers one and two, Abhishek Verma and Saurabh Chaudhary.
World No.2 Divyansh Singh Panwar and Deepak Kumar will begin the day for in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle qualification round.
They will be joined by 50m Rifle Three Positions exponent Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, allowing them to also compete for the men’s team event.
That will be followed by the Women’s 10m Air Rifle where Elavenil Valarivan, also currently world number one, will start alongside teammates Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil.
Manu Bhaker, Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Rahi Sarnobat will then feature in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol.
Finally, Abhishek and Saurabh will compete in the Men’s 10m Air Pistol.
India will send 15 shooters to Tokyo Olympics which opens on July 23 and 13 of them have been training in Croatia for close to two months now.
The two skeet shooters for Tokyo Games, Mairaj Ahmed Khan and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, are training in Italy and have opted out of the World Cup on the advice of their coach. That leaves India without an entry in the shotgun category in the World Cup.
A total of 520 shooters from 47 countries have assembled here. This will be their final international assignment before the Olympics. The world’s top shooters, including strong contingents from heavyweights like Russia, Germany, France, Italy, besides hosts Croatia, will be looking to fine-tune their skills before heading for the Tokyo Games.
Some top names to watch out for besides the Indian stars would be the likes of Olympic and world champion Anna Korakakki of Greece, reigning Olympic champion Christian Reitz of Germany and World No.1 Istvan Peni of Hungary.
India have of-late dominated the ISSF World Cups, particularly in rifle and pistol events and have finished on top of the medals tally in the previous New Delhi combined World Cup as well.
The Indian shooters are expected to come up with a rich haul of medals in the next nine days of competition. There are a total of 30 finals in the World Cup.