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Can Indian shooters win 3 golds in the first 2 days of Tokyo Olympics 2020?

Can Indian shooters win 3 golds in the first 2 days of Tokyo Olympics 2020?


Published: 21 Nov 2019 2:59 PM GMT

Indian shooting is scaling new heights with each passing day. From not winning a medal at the 2016 Olympics to winning 22 medals in the four Rifle and Pistol World Cups this year, the performance of the country's shooters has seen a steep upward climb; and as goes the popular comic book catchphrase "With great power, comes great responsibility", with the improvement in results, the expectations have also risen.

So much so, that experts and fans alike are predicting an unprecedented haul at next year's Tokyo Olympic Games. In fact, if Thursday's results are something to go by, India could end up eclipsing their best ever gold medal haul at the Olympics within the first two days!

Manu Bhaker

On Thursday, at the ongoing ISSF Shooting World Cup finals, Manu Bhaker, Elavenil Valarivan and Divyansh Singh Panwar all won gold in their respective events. While Manu finished on top, breaking the junior world record in women's 10m Air Pistol, Elavenil and Divyansh displayed nerves of steel to ward off their opponents in women's and men's 10m Air Rifle events respectively.

The most exciting prospect for India, if anyone asks, is the resounding success of the junior programme effectively managed by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

Following the Rio debacle, where the Indian shooting contingent failed to fetch even a single medal, an Abhinav Bindra-led committee was tasked to take stock of the performance. The scathing report the committee had stated: “Indian shooting needs to change, change its attitude, its policies and practices... At present, the system is ad hoc. There is no systemic framework in place.”

Elavenil Valarivan

The NRAI, on their part, took the criticism in their stride and look where India is now in the world of shooting. At this year's first World Cup in New Delhi, India bagged three golds. Then in Beijing, they won four medals (3 golds, 1 silver) and in Munich, the haul improved to six (5 golds, 1 silver). In Rio, the Indian shooters exceeded all expectations and bagged nine medals!

Looking at the Tokyo Olympics schedule, it is possible for India to bag three gold medals in the first two days itself! The 10m air pistol men's and 10m air rifle women's finals are scheduled to be held on 25th July 2020, the day Olympics kickoff while the 10m air rifle men's and 10m air pistol women's finals for women will be held on 26th July 2020.

Manu, in her own right, is one of the top contenders for the gold medal in 10m Air Pistol while Elavenil and Divyansh, with their superb scores, have also entered the race to finish on the podium.

India's rifle shooters, especially the women's category, is incredibly strong with Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan and Mehuli Ghosh all capable of landing an Olympic medal. The fight for the two Olympic spots has heated up in recent months with all four showing consistency in international events, even when they are taking part in the MQS.

Divyansh Singh Panwar

In spite of bagging the gold at the World Cup finals, Elavenil's spot is not secured. With Anjum and Apurvi winning India's two quotas, they have an extra bonus point. Anjum, herself, takes part in two events. So, in all likelihood, she will be going to Tokyo. The last spot should be decided between Apurvi, Elavenil and Mehuli.

Keeping India's prowess in women's 10m Air Rifle category in mind, one can say chances of a gold medal in this particular event are very high. That makes it two golds in the first two days of the Games with and if Divyansh can maintain his form, a gold is extremely likely in his event as well. At this point, it does not seem like an unlikely dream, does it?

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