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Indian shooters aim for Olympic quotas at World Cup

02:48 AM Jun 01, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

New Delhi :  A 25-member Indian contingent is set to compete at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup (Rifle/Pistol) at Changwon, South Korea, April 8 onwards, with an eye on the 24 Olympic quota slots up for grabs.

Jitu Rai (in pic) had won India’s first quota for the Rio 2016 Games when he finished second in the 50-metre Free Pistol event at the World Championships in Granada, Spain, last year.

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Each nation can earn a maximum of 30 quota places in the Summer Olympics, two each in all events. There will be 14 places to vie for in the men’s competition and 10 for women. The squad will compete in all 10 disciplines.

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“This is the year’s first big test for our rifle and pistol shooters and the squad is all fit and raring to go. We are confident that all team members will be putting their best foot forward and continue to bring more glory to the nation as they have been doing at the global stage for some years now,” National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said.

“We wish the squad all the very best and although the competition will be tough, we hope our talented shooters secure the maximum number of Olympic quota places as they possibly can.”

Apart from Rai, who is ranked in the top-10 in both 50m pistol and 10m air pistol, a lot will also be expected from Olympic medallist Gagan Narang, currently ranked sixth in the world in 50m rifle prone, as well as Ayonika Paul, currently ranked seventh in women’s 10m air rifle.

The country’s lone individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra will also be competing in the 10m air rifle event. Heena Sidhu, a former World No.1, has recently returned to form and will also be expected to secure an Olympic berth.

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