Indian Shooting Prospects at Rio 2016: Part 1
Gold medalist Apurvi Chandela (R) and Silver medalist Ayonika Paul both of India pose for pictures with their medals following the Women's 10m Air Rifle at the Barry Buddon Shooting Centre in Carnoustie, Scotland, on July 26, 2014, during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. (Image Credit: twitter)
India kick off their quest for an Olympic medal in Shooting on Saturday. Shooting has been India’s go to Olympics sports, it has delivered India’s only individual Gold medal when Abhinav Bindra own in the 2008 Beijing medal in the 10 M Air Rifle event and many will hope that he repeats it this year too.On Saturday India’s Women as well as Men’s team will be out competing.
The first is the Women’s 10 M Air Rifle event, Apurvi Chandela and Ayonika Paul will look forward to qualify for the next stages.The men’s will be competing in the 10 M Air Pistol event. India will be represented by Jitu Rai and Gurpreet Singh, both men will also be competing in another Shooting event thus doubling medal hopes.
All 23 year of age she is the reigning Commonwealth Champion. She won Gold in the 2014 Glasgow games. Greatly inspired by Abhinav Bindra’s triumph, she tried her hands at the sports and the rest as they say is history. This will be her first Olympics but she is already one of India’s biggest medal hope. Her world record score of 211.2 in women’s 10M Air Rifle event, to surpass the feat of Chinese Olympic gold medalist Yi Siling (211) best explains her intent.
She qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympics after clinching the 10m air rifle bronze in the 2015 ISSF World Cup in Changwon, Korea.
Same age as Apurvi she will also be participating in her first Olympics. Ayonika and Apurvi will look forward to replicate their 2014 Commonwealth Games feat when she came second and won the Silver behind Apurvi. Paul has been in the sports since class VIII and this dedication towards the sport helped her clinch a podium finish at the 10 M Air Rifle event at the ISSF World Cup in 2014 in Maribor.
She secured her Olympic ticket by winning the silver medal in 10M Air Rifle at the Asia Qualifying Competition this year only.
A farmer originally from Nepal joined the Indian Army in 2006 and has rose in the sports to carry India’s Olympic Medal hopes. On Saturday he will kick off in the 10M Air Pistol event, he will also be competing in the 50M Pistol event scheduled later.
2014 was his breakthrough year, in fact he reached the World Rank 1 in the 10m Air Pistol category after having won gold at the ISSF world Cup. Since then he has added medals both in the 10m and 50m events.He is the reigning Asian and Commonwealth Champion in the 50m Pistol category. In June this year he showcased his potential by claiming a silver medal in the men’s 10M Air Pistol event at the ISSF world cup in Baku.
Jitu was the first shooter to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics after winning a silver medal at the 51st Shooting World Championships in Granada,Spain in 2014.
The Indian Army shooter will be representing India in the 10 M Air Pistol as well as 25M Rapid Fire Pistol. He missed out on the 2012 London Olympics despite winning 3 medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games. He has put that disappointment behind him and has fought a slump in form to win his maiden Olympic berth in not one but two events.
He earned the Rio berth in 10m Air pistol event after finishing fourth with 154.8 points at ISSF World Cup in Munich, Germany in 2015. However the 25m rapid pistol qualification was not that easy he fought for it eventually winning at the World Cup Final. He has tremendous potential but he has let down himself by being inconsistent at final stages of the competition, if he can control his nerves he could well be India’s dark horse at the games.