Tokyo Olympics: Why India failed to send shooters in the trap event?
For the first time since 1992, India will not be sending any trap shooter to the Olympic games.
The Indian pistol and rifle team outnumbered the shotgun team for the Tokyo Olympics. Only two Indian shotgun (skeet) shooters will compete at the mega-quadrennial games.
India missing out on an Olympics quota for trap comes as a surprise as the nation always had a strong feat in this event. For the first time since 1992, India will not be sending any trap shooter to the Olympics. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore clinched the first Olympic medal in shooting for India in the double trap event.
With the rise of the pistol and rifle team, the shotgun team has taken a backseat post-Rio Olympics. The only shooter who came close to win an Olympic quota was Keynan Chenai; however, he also couldn't.
Focus on top shooters backfired
Shotgun has produced some top Indian shooting favorites. Likes of Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Mansher Singh, and Manavjit Singh Sandhu have represented India at the Olympics. However, the top shooters have now retired.
While the other two events have seen incredible growth in the participation of youngsters, the numbers aren't the same for the shotgun.
While almost 5000 shooters competed in the pistol and rifle events, 300 shooters competed in the shotgun event at the last National shooting championship.
There was a delay in ground-level improvement in the shotgun event, as compared to the other two. India needs more participation of youngsters in shotgun events to bring in fresh talents.
Lack of guidance, delay in Junior shooting program for the Trap event
The Indian pistol and rifle team has a good number of private international coaches. Even the skeet shooters have the guidance of international shooters. Mansher Singh is the lone coach for the Indian trapshooting team.
After the Rio Olympics, the junior shooting program was established for the pistol and rifle events. However, there was a delay for the trap shooters.
The program was a success in the other two events, as it gave junior shooters the ease to adapt to the pressure on international grounds. Lack of experience was prominent as Indian trap shooters couldn't clinch the quotas.
Olympian Keynan Chenai was the only shooter who was in the race for quota. But because of hard luck and the immense pressure of being the lone hope, he couldn't bag the quota.
The cost of the Shotgun event- reason for low participation?
The pistol and rifle events are relatively less costly than the trap event, as it requires a minimum of 3 lakh rupees expense per month. This serves as a reason for the less ground-level improvement in the sport.
Comparing the infrastructure of the shooting events, there is more availability of pistol and rifle ranges than shotgun ranges in India. It's easier for newcomers to locate pistol or rifle ranges near their place.
Double Trap event discontinued
The Indian shooting won its first Olympic medal in the double trap event. To reach its gender goals, the double trap event was discontinued in the Tokyo Olympics. This has reduced the chances for men shooters to qualify in trap events.
Indian shooters have been more dominant in double trap, so this comes as a disadvantage for the country.
Way forward for Trap Shooting in India
Albeit their failure to reach the Tokyo Olympics, the trap event will now focus on the 2024 Paris Olympics. The rise on ground level has already started.
During the 2021 ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, India clinched the gold medal in both trap team events. Lakshay Sheoran, Prithviraj Tondaiman, and Keynan Chenai won in the men's team event. While Shreyashi Singh, Manisha Keer, and Rajeshwari Kumari won in the women's team event.