When the Indian contingent landed in Changwon for the 15th Asian Shooting Championship, they would have been banking on the shotgun shooters to add handsomely to the country quota bank for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The optimism wasnÔÇÖt without reason. The Asian Championship is considered a relatively easy outing for shotgun shooters, compared to rifle and pistol events, and has been a happy hunting ground for the Indians.
But that was not to be as India drew a blank in Korea shooting hub, and could not add to the two quotas, out of the maximum possible eight, already won by Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men’s trap) and Rajeshwari Kumari (women’s trap) in previous competitions.
Hangzhou Asian Games silver medallist Anant Jeet Singh Naruka did come close to winning a quota in men skeet but missed out after finishing fourth.
1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medallist and India’s former shotgun coach Russell Mark put the show in perspective. India just needs some luck. Probably more finals training also. They have some great talent. I am sure Kuwait will prove more fruitful for their team,ÔÇØ said the Aussie.
Though the outing in Changwon was disappointing, there is no need to be despondent for quite a few opportunities await to make up for this flop show.
Up next are the Asian Olympic Qualification Shotgun at Kuwait in January and ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship Shotgun at Doha in April. These will be the last two competitions for the shotgun shooters to secure Olympic quotas, and also the ideal platforms for redemption.
Moving on to the rifle and pistol events in Changwon, six Olympic quotas (the most along with hosts Korea) were won by the Indian shooters, three each in both the categories.
In rifle, it was Arjun Babuta (men 10m air rifle), Tilottama Sen (women’s 10m air rifle) and Shriyanka Sadangi (women’s 50m rifle three positions), while Manu Bhaker (women’s 25m pistol), Anish Bhanwala (men’s 25m rapid fire pistol) and Sarabjot Singh (men’s 10m air pistol) were the standout names at the Asian Championship.
A country is allotted a maximum eight quotas per category, and while all of them have been taken in rifle, the pistol shooters have two competitions to grab the remaining five quotas.
In this light, the Asian Olympic Qualification Rifle/Pistol at Jakarta in January and ISSF Final Olympic Qualification Championship Rifle/Pistol at Rio de Janeiro in April assume a lot of significance.
The Olympic qualification period ends on 9th June and all World Cups till then will also be important as there is an option to obtain quotas from the qualification ranking for the Olympic Games (QROG).
The quotas belong to the country, except when achieved from the QROG.These quotas are awarded to the individuals and not to the country.