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    Sandeep Singh silences critics with impressive show in Munich

    By indianshooting.com
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    Sandeep Singh

    Sandeep Singh missed out making the finals in men’s 10m air rifle on Sunday, but in the near miss at the ISSF World Cup in Munich, the 28-year-old Army man made a telling point which could well settle the debate on the best shooter to make the Indian squad for the Paris Olympics.

    Ever since the Olympic Selection Trials concluded recently in Bhopal, and Sandeep emerged the top name in men’s 10 air rifle, a debate got triggered. That is whether Sandeep, a relatively unknown name on the world stage, should make the team to Paris as the top finisher, or whether the National Rifle Association of India should rely on track record instead of the rule book, and name former World Champion Rudrankksh Patil, the Olympic quota winner along with Arjun Babuta, ahead of Sandeep.

    With Munich being the last World Cup for rifle and pistol before the Olympics, Sandeep hopes he rested his case on Sunday by finishing ahead of Rudrankksh and World Record holder Divyansh Singh Panwar.

    Sandeep, who finished 10th and much ahead of Divyansh (13th) and Rudrankksh (18th), was unlucky as he shot the same score as American Matthew Peter Fiori’s 631.4, but lost out on a spot in the final due to a lesser last series.

    Arjun, who had finished second in the selection trials behind Sandeep, shot the second best 635.1 in qualification behind China’s world record holder Lihao Sheng (635.4), but did not make the final since he was in RPO.

    Sandeep had a shaky start with 104.4 and 104.2, but bounced back strongly and kept improving in the next three series with 105.4, 105.9, 106.1 and settled with a 105.4 in the 6th series.

    Divyansh also started with a poor series of 102.8 but did well to climb back with two very high 106.6 and 106.7 in the 3rd and 4th series.

    Rudrankksh started well with a 105.2, but let go of the momentum with a 103.8 in the 2nd series. He did recover with 106.3 in the 4th series, but it was too late.

    As per the NRAI’s selection policy, the top-two finishers in the trials will be picked for Paris, even if one or both the shooters haven’t won the quota place for the country.

    The Delhi High Court too recently upheld the NRAI’s Paris 2024 Olympic Selection Policy while dismissing a petition filed by a shooter challenging her non-inclusion in the trials.

    With the Olympic squad set to be named soon, Rudrankksh had written to the NRAI, urging the federation to look at overall performance rather than just the selection trials.

    However, performance not words will decide the best man for the job, and Sandeep’s near miss on Sunday may have well swung it his way, and silenced critics who doubted his ability to perform at international competitions.

    Also Read: Rudrankksh and Sandeep put NRAI in a fix before Paris Olympics