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Shooting

Which shooter will make it to the Women's 10m air rifle Tokyo Olympics squad?

With three shooters - Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan, in fray for two Olympic slots, one of them would surely miss out

Elavenil Valarivan Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela
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Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela

By

Abhijit Nair

Published: 1 April 2021 11:38 AM GMT

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is just three and a half months away. While quite a few athletes have secured their passage to the Olympics with ease, the fate of others continue to hang by a thread.

Amongst the ones who are not yet assured of their Tokyo spot are the Indian woman 10m air rifle shooters – Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan. With the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) set to announce the Indian shooting contingent for the Tokyo Olympics in the next couple of days, it is still not clear who amongst the three would make it to Tokyo.

What is the qualification hurdle for Chandela, Moudgil and Valarivan?

Well, it is pretty simple. India has secured a total of two Olympic quotas in women's 10m air rifle, while it currently has a total of three brilliant shooters to choose from. This automatically means that either one of Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil or Elavenil Valarivan will have their Olympic dream shattered in the coming days.

Who will miss out?

Under the current conditions, Anjum Moudgil is expected to directly walk in to the Tokyo squad given that she was the one who won one of the quotas in women's 10m air rifle for India. Add to that her decent shooting form at the recently concluded ISSF Shooting World Cup in Delhi where she finished fifth in the final, it is highly unlikely of her to miss out.

Moudgil's assured entry to the Games means that it would be a direct shootout between Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan for the second spot; and currently it is very difficult to predict as to who will miss the bus amongst the two.

Apurvi Chandela, Anjum Moudgil and Elavenil Valarivan

What works in Apurvi Chandela's favour?

There are two things that might work in Chandela's favour. First, the fact that she was the second shooter who won the quota for India back in 2018 during the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Changwon, Korea.

What works in Elavenil Valarivan's favour?

If there is one thing that could swing the tide in Valarivan's favour, it is her current form or rather the lack of Chandela's form. The 28 old has been scratchy ever since her return to the shooting range in the aftermath of the pandemic and finished at a disappointing 26th place at the recently concluded ISSF World Cup in Delhi.

Though Valarivan herself was not in the best of her elements at the World Cup in Delhi, she finished at the 12th spot in the women's 10m air rifle and seemed to be in far better touch than Chandela. Besides, Valarivan shrugged off the individual event disappointment with a gold medal finish at the mixed 10m air rifle along with Divyansh Panwar.

What is NRAI's stand?

Though the NRAI did not officially take a stand on who will be unfortunate to miss out, the NRAI President, Raninder Singh maintained that the selection would be purely based on merit.

"The interest of the nation would be foremost in fielding the best shooters in each event. We have all the data available. We will make an informed decision," Singh had said.

With an uncertainty looming across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NRAI has decided to name two reserve shooters for each category. Though not being selected in the squad might well be the end of the Olympic dream for either Apurvi Chandela or Elavenil Valarivan, they would still be named in the reserve group.

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