Elavenil Valarivan and Anish Bhanwala, two of India’s finest young shooters, were on Friday named in a 34-member core group for the Tokyo Olympics. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) released the list of shooters who will be training separately for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza, scheduled to be held next summer after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Games back by a year. Of the 34 shooters, 15 are Olympic quota holders, but as per its stated selection policy, the NRAI reserves the right to swap one or two places depending on form and aggregate scores in the lead-up to the final team selection.
“These shooters will be training and preparing for the Games separately. There could a change or two also when the team is selected depending on scores and form of shooters,” an NRAI source told PTI.
The likes of former world number one in air pistol, Heena Sidhu, were however not included in the core group.
In May, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had approved the world shooting governing body’s updated qualification system for the Tokyo Olympics, which could see India add at least one more quota to the 15 secured during the qualifying cycle that began with 2018 World Championship in Korea.
Indian shooters were primed for success at the Tokyo Games before the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic led to a one-year postponement.
An NRAI insider had said this could help someone like Bhanwala to secure a quota for himself in the 25m rapid-fire pistol, a category in which India won a silver through Vijay Kumar at the 2012 London Games.
Anish was in the top 10 in the March 31 ranking for his event and all the other shooters above him had already secured their quotas, helping his cause. His chances will only increase if he shoots a good score in the World Cup in March-April next year.
The new deadline for Tokyo 2020 Qualification in shooting is June 6, 2021, according to the ISSF.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) had called off all its World Cups this year due to the pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and led to either cancellation or postponement of all sporting events.
CORE GROUP (Men)
50M RIFLE 3P: Aishwarya Pratap Singh, Parul Kumar, Sanjeev Rajput, Swapnil Kusale.
10M RIFLE: Deepak Kumar, Divyansh Singh Panwar, Pankaj Singh, Sandeep Singh
25M RAPID FIRE PISTOL: Aneesh Bhanwala, Vijayveer Singh
10M PISTOL: Abhishek Verma, Om Prakash Mutharwal, Saurabh Chaudhary, Shahzar Rizvi.
SKEET: Angad Vir Singh Bajwa, Gurjot Singh, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Sheeraj Sheikh.
CORE GROUP (Women)
50M RIFLE 3P: Anjum Moudgil, Gaayathri N, Sunidhi Chauhan, Tejaswini Sawant
10M RIFLE: Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan, Shreya Agarwal
25M PISTOL: Abhidnya Patil, Chinki Yadav, Manu Bhaker, Rahi Sarnobat
10M PISTOL: Annuraj Singh, Esha Singh, Manu Bhaker,Yashaswini Singh.
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