With a year left for the 2016 Rio Olympics, it is a good time to have an analysis of Indian Olympic hopes from shooting – the sport that has one of the best chances for medals for the Indian contingent. The Indian shooters, so far, have earned 5 quota places in this sport and have a great opportunity to pick up a few more.
As directed by the International Olympic Committee, a total of 30 quota places are up for grabs for every nation with a maximum of two for each of the 15 disciplines. At the 2012 London Games, India was awarded 11 quota places which were converted into two medals – silver for Vijay Kumar in Men’s 25m rapid fire pistol and bronze for Gagan Narang in Men’s 10m air rifle.
How are our shooters doing this time? Let us have an in-depth look at the qualification scenario.
#1 Five Olympic Quotas earned by Indian shooters: A recap
1. Pistol marksman Jitu Rai was the first one to open the quota account for India. A brilliant Rai clinched the silver medal in 50m Free Pistol at the prestigious World Championships in Granada last year en route to ensuring a quota spot for Rio, 2016.
2. 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Apurvi Chandela was the next one to grab a quota. Chandela won the bronze in Women’s 10m Air Rifle competition at the Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Changwon this year which got her a Rio berth.
3. London Olympics bronze medallist Gagan Narang booked his spot at the Olympics once more when he secured the bronze in Men’s 50m Rifle Prone category at the 2015 Rifle/Pistol World Cup in Fort Benning.
4. The ever-inspiring Abhinav Bindra put up yet another determined show to give himself another chance to add to the 2008 Olympic gold. Bindra, however, did not win any medal but his sixth-place finish in 10m Air Rifle at the 2015 Munich Rifle/Pistol World Cup was enough for the quota place.
5. At the same tournament, Gurpreet Singh joined Bindra as the fifth Indian shooter to seal a berth for India at the Rio Olympics. A fourth-place finish in the 10m air pistol event saw him miss the medal by a whisker but Gurpreet was presented with a golden chance of shooting at the Olympics.
#2 Upcoming qualification tournaments for Indian shooters
An important stretch of the season is coming up for Indian shooters with the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun commencing in Gabala, Azerbaijan on 6th August. The combined rifle/pistol and shotgun competition will give an excellent opportunity to all shooters for booking a Rio ticket.
The shotgun specialists will get another attempt soon after that as the ISSF Shotgun World Championships is scheduled from 9-18 September in Lonato, Italy. The Asian Shooting Championship follows this tournament. It will be held from 1-12 November in Kuwait City. The Olympic qualifying period in shooting ends on 31st March, 2016 when the Continental Championships for the respective continents get over.
(Click on ‘Go To Next Slide’ to read about the prospects of Indian shooters)