World Cup show helped us assess shooters for Olympics: Coach

By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The performance in the ISSF World Cup that concluded here on Sunday has given a clear picture of India’s preparation for the Tokyo Olympics starting July 23, says national pistol coach Samresh Jung.

“The overall results will enable us to tweak the training plans. The shooters were competing at the world level after a gap of over a year. The scores will enable the coaching team to evaluate the performance and work accordingly to prepare the shooters for the Olympics,” Jung told IANS.

The New Delhi World Cup was 2021 season’s first major competition conducted in all the three disciplines — rifle, pistol and shotgun.

On Sunday, the final day of the competition, the Indian team won gold in both the men and women’s trap team events swelling their medal tally to 30, fifteen of which were gold. The home team also won nine silver and six bronze medals in the competition that featured 294 shooters from 53 countries.

According to the national pistol coach, some shooters performed well under pressure while others wilted.

“The coaches can guide the shooters in handling crunch situations during the match. But ultimately it depends on an individual how he deals with high voltage competition,” he added.

Haryana’s teenage shooter Anish Bhanwala was fancied to win gold in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event during the World Cup.

However, the 18-year-old wasn’t impressive as he finished fifth in the final. By virtue of his global ranking, a gold medal could have brightened his chances of winning an individual quota place for the Tokyo Olympics.

“Graduating from the junior to senior rank takes time. Some shooters are able to do that faster while others take a bit long. Bhanwala has the ability to shoot good scores. How long he takes to shoot steady scores under pressure will depend on him,” said Jung.

Trap shooter Kynan Chenai from Hyderabad was another shooter who failed to grab an opportunity during the World Cup to win an individual quota place.

Chenai, 30, reached the final but finished fourth.

“Overall, it was a good performance. The shooters reached the finals in their respective events. Since young shooters like Ganemat Sekhon could win individual bronze medal in women’s skeet event, it shows our bench strength is improving,” said Mansher Singh, chief coach of the shotgun team.

In the 2019 Olympic qualification period, India had won 15 quota places including two in the men’s skeet event through Angadvir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.

India had got six quota places in the pistol events while seven came in the rifle events.

The quota places are for the country and not shooters. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is yet to select the final team for the Olympics.

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