New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) A 49-member squad of Indian shooters is set to fire in the Olympic year’s first International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage, which is set to begin in Cairo, Egypt. The air pistol shooters go first with both the men’s and women’s 10m air pistol finals scheduled at the Egypt International Olympic City Shooting Range on January 26, India’s Republic Day.
While the Rifle and Pistol Shooters will be eyeing a good performance to ensure a place in the national Olympic trials, which will be held in May, the Shotgun stars will look to hold their place in the team and maintain high world rankings with as many as four spots, two in Trap and two in Skeet, still to be booked for Paris with a final qualifier event slated for April in Rio.
The Men’s and Women’s Trap shooters will be first to take aim, with the day one of qualifiers offering 75 targets to gun down. In Women’s Trap, Rajeshwari Kumari, Bhavya Tripathi and Manisha Keer will be in contention for medals while veteran Zoravar Singh Sandhu, Prithviraj Tondaiman and Bhowneesh Mendiratta will hold fort in Men’s Trap.
In the women’s and men’s air pistol, six Indian shooters will vie for podium finishes. Ujjwal Malik, Ravinder Singh and Sagar Dangi will aim for a great start and a first-ever senior individual world cup medal in the men’s category, while Olympian Manu Bhaker, Mixed Pistol World Champion Esha Singh and Anuradha Devi will carry the Indian hopes in the women’s event.
A few Indian shooters, like Vivaan Kapoor and Lakshay Sheoran in Men’s Trap, Rhythm Sangwan in women’s Air Pistol and Varun Tomar in Men’s Pistol, will also be shooting for ranking points only (RPO) and will not be in medal contention.
A total of 672 shooters from 66 nations will compete in the year’s first combined ISSF World Cup stage where all 15 Olympic events will be conducted. All top shooters of the world will be in attendance, looking to begin the international season on a confident note, given the importance of the year.