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Shooting

Sanjeev Rajput, Vijay Kumar part of national shooting selection trials

The trials for Group A shooters assume significance as the national squads for major international competitions, including the Asian Games, will be selected based on these scores.

Olympic silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar (Source: Getty)
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Olympic silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar (File Photo/Getty)

By

PTI

Updated: 2022-12-28T15:36:47+05:30

Veteran rifle shooter Sanjeev Rajput, Olympic silver medallist in rapid-fire pistol Vijay Kumar and young Olympian Divyansh Panwar figure in the list of marksmen who will take part in the crucial national selection trials (1 & 2) to be held at the Dr Karni Singh Ranges from January 8-14 next year.

The trials for Group A shooters assume significance as the national squads for major international competitions, including the Asian Games, in a packed pre-Olympic year will be selected on the basis of the performance in the two trials.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has divided the shooters into two categories for 2023 -- Group A consisting of top-ranked shooters, and Group B having those eligible for open selection trials. The national squad will only be selected from the list of Group A shooters, said the NRAI.

"According to NRAI's selection criteria (rifle and pistol) 2023, only Group A classified shooters will be eligible for selection to the national squad and for international competitions," said an NRAI statement.

India have so far booked three quota places for the 2024 Paris Olympics and the target would be to at least match the 15 slots they had booked for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Besides, the focus will also be on the postponed Asian Games, which is a happy hunting ground for Indian shooters.

Vijay Kumar, the 2012 London Olympics silver medallist, said he definitely wants to do well in the two selection trials and represent the country in Paris.

Vijay had returned for his maiden international competition in more than four years by competing in the World Championships in Cairo in October this year. Though he missed an Olympic quota place in Cairo, the Deputy Superintendent of Police in Himachal Pradesh Police, is aiming to make it to the national squad through the trials and push for Paris qualification in 2023.

"That's (Olympic quota place) something I am targetting next year despite my busy schedule and I hope to get clearance from my department in the next couple of days for the trials," said Vijay.

The NRAI added in the statement that the trials "will be for Olympic events only".

Sultan Singh, secretary-general, NRAI, said, the trials will help the shooters get into competitive mode early in the season.

"It is going to be a year of continuous national and international competitions and we also host a home World Cup stage this year. These are the top shooters we have in rifle and pistol and it will be important for them to get into competition mode early in a pre-Olympic and Asian Games year.

"The trials, we hope, will serve exactly that purpose apart from throwing up the names who will take up India responsibilities on the international stage, in the beginning of the year," added Singh.

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