India’s most successful individual sport at the Olympics is shooting where the country has so far won four medals, one of which being gold. The impressive form of the young Indian shooters in the last couple of years generates hope of winning medals at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020. In the Asian Shooting Championships 2019 that concluded in Doha on Wednesday, Indian shooters were in supreme form as they bagged a total of 71 medals (45 in junior & youth, 26 in senior).
Before the continental event (which was the last spot for India to grab quota places for Tokyo 2020), India had already earned nine quota places across genders. Following India’s performance at the 14th Asian Shooting Championships held in Doha, Qatar, the number of Olympic quotas from shooting has increased by six across gender.
Here’s a round-up of what transpired in Doha over the last one week:
Deepak Kumar, who won a Bronze medal in ISSF World CUP 2018, earned the 10th quota for India after he shot 145 in the finals and bagged a Bronze medal in 10m Air Rifle Men’s event. Later, a team of Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan and Anjum Moudgil won Team Gold in 10m Air Rifle Women’s Team event with a combined score of 1863.2. Indian Teen sensation Manu Bhaker then joined the party after she clinched a Gold medal in 10m Air Pistol women’s event.
The medal run continued on the second day of the Asian Championships, as the junior shooters were all ready to bag more medals. Women’s 50m Rifle Prone team of Nischal, Bhakti Bhaskar and Kinnor won a Gold medal while Nischal And Bhakti Bhaskar bagged a Silver and a Gold medal in an individual event. Following the same path, Men’s 50m Rifle Prone team of Niraj Kumar, Abid Ali Khan, and Jaysinhji Gohli won team Gold. In the Men’s 50m Rifle Prone individual event Niraj Kumar clinched Silver medal while Abid Ali settled for Bronze.
A team of Anish Bhanwala, Bhavesh Shekhawat and Adarsh Singh bagged the team bronze with a combined score of 1716. Their compatriot in the junior category also clichéd Bronze in the same event.
The junior shooters replicated their performance on the third day, as 14-year-old Esha Singh clinched a gold medal in 10m Air Pistol (Jr.) event with 242.2 points and another Indian shooter Priya Raghav scored 217.4 and settled with a bronze medal in the same event. Also, the team of Esha Singh, Priya Raghav, and Yuvika Tomar bagged Team Gold in 10m Air Pistol Women’s (Jr.) event. This was not enough for the day, Vivaan Kapoor and Bhowneesh Mendiratta bagged Gold and Silver respectively in the Junior Trap event. A team of Vivaan Kapoor, Manavaditya Rathore, and Bhowneesh Mendiratta won Gold in Jr. Men’s Trap team event.
Chinki Yadav, the 21-year-old shooter from Bhopal, came up with India’s 11th Olympic quota place after she made her way to the Final of Women’s 25m Pistol event. She shot 588 to finish second in the qualification round but misses out a medal as she finished sixth in the finals. With Rahi Sarnobat already qualified and India has now won a maximum of two quotas in this event.
Former World Champion Tejaswini Sawant cruised into the finals of 50m Rifle 3 position Women’s event after shooting 1171 out of 1200 in the qualification stage. After he made her way to the finals, Sawant assured the 12th Olympic quota for India but missed out on a medal after finishing fourth with 435.8 in the finals.
Youngster Aishwary Pratap Singh grabbed the 13th Olympic quota in Shooting after he clinched a Bronze medal in 50m Rifle 3 position Men’s event. Earlier this year, Sanjeev Rajput earned the first quota place in 50m Rifle 3 position Men’s event at ISSF World Cup held in Rio de Janerio. Later, Angad Veer Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan assured 14th and 15th quota place after winning first-ever Men’s Skeet Gold and Silver in Asian Shooting Championships.
The hunger for winning medals will never wane away for wonder kid of Indian shooting Saurabh Chaudhary (current World Record Holder in 10m Air Pistol Men’s). 17-year-old Chaudhary finished second with 44.5 in the final and settled for Silver. Saurabh had already earned an Olympic quota in February at ISSF World Cup New Delhi edition earlier this year. Later in the evening, Gurnihal Singh Garcha won Silver medal in Men’s Junior Skeet event. Shreya Agarwal and Dhanush strike Gold in 10m Air rifle Mixd team Jr. event.
Junior shooters Dhanush Shrikant and Shahu Mane bagged Gold and Bronze respectively in 10m Air Rifle Men Junior event. Shreya Agarwal shot 250.6 to clinch Silver in the final of 10m Air Rifle Womens Jr. event, while Khushi Saini settled for Bronze with 228.8 scores.
Amid, two Indian shooters missed out quota places by narrow margins on day two of the Asian Shooting Championships. Kynan Chenai who finished second in the Men’s Trap qualification with his 122 score failed to secure Olympic berth. Fighting for the quota place in the finals, Chenai placed sixth after his 13 hits in his first 25 shots. The three quota places were bagged by Qatar, Chinese Taipei, and Kuwait.
On the other hand, tough luck for Anish Bhanwala in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men’s event. He finished 11th in the qualification with a 574 scoreline. A poor show in the final series of a qualification-round ended Bhanwala’s hopes of securing the Olympic quota place available in the event.
The best ever Indian Contingent
India has so far earned 15 Olympic Quota places, which is the best ever Olympic qualification in Shooting India has ever seen. In the year 2012, Eleven Indian shooters were qualified for London Olympics Games, where Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang won Silver and Bronze in 25m Rapid fire Pistol and 10m Air Rifle event respectively.
In the Rio Olympics 2016, twelve shooters make their cut in the showpiece event, but unfortunately, none of them managed to win a medal for the country.
The current Indian contingent has raised the level of Indian shooting with their consistent performances in various international events. And there is no doubt about the fact that they will continue their winning run in the upcoming quadrennial event which will be held in Tokyo next year.