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    Cream of Indian shooting in action at Olympic selection trials

    By indianshooting.com
    Esha Singh - indianshooting.com

    For the 37 Indian shooters chasing an Olympic berth, the coming days, starting Friday, will be critical.

    The Olympic selection trials commencing at the Karni Singh Shooting Range from April 19 will decide the fate of the athletes in the fray across eight events in pistol and rifle over the next nine days.

    The Delhi leg is the opening stopover for the first set of trials with Bhopal the second venue, and competition there slated from May 10-19.

    Among the events, the focus undoubtedly will be on women’s 10m air pistol, which will be the hottest contested event.

    Palak Gulia, who obtained the Olympic quota at the ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last week, will join Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh, Rhythm Sangwan and Surbhi Rao in the line-up.

    Manu, Rhythm and Esha have also qualified for the women’s 25m pistol trials based on their rankings.

    World and domestic rankings of the shooters have determined the selection of the 37 names by the NRAI’s selection panel.

    With the eight Olympic quota spots in pistol and rifle already secured by the Indians over time, the stakes are high as the 16 quota winners will also be in action to defend their spots. With bonus points for winning the quota being reduced significantly (two bonus points in 25m pistol and 50m rifle, and one in 10m pistol and rifle), the trials will be an almost level playing field for those trying to step up.

    The three-best scores in the four trials across Delhi and Bhopal will be considered for Paris, and another name eager to make the trip to the Olympics is Anish Bhanwala in men’s 25m rapid fire pistol.

    After missing out on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Anish would be doubly keen, especially after securing the quota spot this time.

    However, it will be far from a cakewalk as Vijayveer Sidhu can be expected to mount a challenge in the five-man field.

    In men’s 50m rifle three positions Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, considered the country’s best bet and a hero of the Hangzhou Asian Games, will vie with Swapnil Kusale and Akhil Sheoran for the top honours.

    The names to watch out for among women in 50m three positions are Asian Games medallists Sift Kaur Samra, Ashi Chouksey, and seasoned Olympian Anjum Moudgil.

    Shooters at the Olympic selection trials:

    Men’s 10m air pistol: Sarabjot Singh, Arjun Singh Cheema, Varun Tomar, Naveen, Ravinder Singh

    Women’s 10m air pistol: Palak Gulia, Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh, Rhythm Sangwan, Surbhi Rao

    Men’s 10m air rifle: Rudrankksh Patil, Arjun Babuta, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Sri Karthik Sabari Raj, Sandeep Singh

    Women’s 10m air rifle: Mehuli Ghosh, Tilottama Sen, Ramita Jindal, Elavenil Valarivan, Nancy Mandhotra

    Women’s 25m pistol: Manu Bhaker, Rhythm Sangwan, Esha Singh, Abhidnya Patil, Simranpreet Kaur Brar

    Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol: Anish Bhanwala, Vijayveer Sidhu, Adarsh Singh, Bhavesh Shekhawat, Ankur Goel

    Men’s 50m rifle 3 position: Akhil Sheoran, Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar, Swapnil Kusale, Chain Singh, Niraj Kumar

    Women’s 50m rifle 3 position: Sift Kaur Samra, Ashi Chouksey, Shriyanka Sadangi, Nishcal, Anjum Moudgil