fbpx

Which Indian Shooter Will Go To Paris2024

3.7/5 - (3 votes)

I am no expert in shooting. I have absolutely no skin in the game. What I am is an earnest fan of the sport. I have been following it since the 2000 Olympics and more closely in this Olympic cycle. Shooting has a special place in my heart because it has the potential to bring us multiple medals. Yes, you read it right; I’m greedy that way!

Most of our prospects are really young, and would be competing in their first Olympic games. One of the most heartening aspects in this sport is that, every Olympic cycle brings in fresh faces.

To give you an idea of how young they are, 11 out of the 15 who have won quotas in rifle and pistol were born after Sydney 2000. The youngest of them all, Tilottama Sen was an infant when Abhinav Bindra won the coveted gold in 2008.

The governing body of Indian sports shooting, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) had come under severe criticism because of underwhelming performances in Rio and Tokyo. So, this time, they have made wholesale changes to the process of selecting the squad to Paris 2024. https://www.thenrai.in/PDF/ca30416d-1243-4da9-b6bf-1b3fedd414b8.pdf

For the first time, we will be having trials. There will be 4 selection trials; 2 each in Delhi and Bhopal. 5 shooters in each rifle/pistol event (except women’s air pistol, as we have only one quota till date) will compete for 2 slots in the final Olympic team.

You might say, the criteria for selection to these trials were very arbitrary. Why only five shooters, when finals have eight? Why the need for national trial scores as well as QROG (qualification ranking for Olympic games) points?

But the rules were same for everyone and hence, anyone who missed out has only themselves to blame. Notwithstanding that fact, there are some notable athletes who have missed out by fine margins.

Let’s look at each Rifle and Pistol event, one by one.

Before that, don’t ask where Saurabh Chaudhary is! He will not be there in the trials. He is not quite in his best form.

Will he be back soon? I can only wish him good luck for the future.

The official starting list for the trials is here:

10m air rifle men:

The hot favourite to break our medal jinx will be in this event- Rudrankksh Patil. He has had a remarkable run in this Olympic cycle.

Courtesy Rediff.com

His breakthrough event was in the junior world championships in 2021, where he gave freshly minted Olympic champion, William Shaner, a run for his money. His crowning moment came in Cairo, the next year, when he beat all odds and emulated Abhinav Bindra to become world champion. He has been our Mr. consistent and it would be a big shock if he doesn’t make the team.

Then we have Arjun Babuta and Divyansh Panwar. Arjun, like Rudrankksh, has a quota place and will have an additional 0.33 points to his final average score (FAS) (for more details on how the score will be calculated, check the official link provided above).
Divyansh is the only one in this list who has had a taste of an Olympics and he would rather, not like to be reminded of it.
He had a lean period immediately post Tokyo and has roared back into contention lately, leading the national rankings now.

Any of these three could make the team and I would sympathise with whoever misses out.

Dark horses:

I have a soft corner for Srikarthik Sarbariraj, being a fellow Tamil. In a way, he is the in-form shooter with scores above 633 in the latest national trials. But what is concerning is his performances in international competitions.

If he can come through these trials, fair play to him. I don’t know anything about Sandeep Singh. He had a sensational 633.4 (RPO) in the 2024 Asian qualification tournament and if not for that score, he wouldn’t be in this list. Whether he will get the bonus 0.33 remains to be seen.

Unlucky to miss out:

Aishwary Tomar: Don’t think he cares. He has other important goals.

Hriday Hazarika: Had a spectacular Baku WC final in 2023 where he beat the hallowed Chinese duo of Yang Haoran and Sheng Lihao. Underwhelming national trials.

Kiran Jadhav: Had reached the finals of the world championships in 2022 with Rudrankksh. Unlucky to be pipped to the post by Sandeep.

10m air rifle women:

The toughest category to predict. Haryana girls, Ramita and Nancy are the in-form pair. It is remarkable that Nancy’s national ranking score is a full 1.5 points above Ramita, who is second.

She, like Hriday, had a Baku WC to remember in 2023. She will also have the bonus 0.33 even though she did not win a quota, through winning the Asian qualification tournament at Jakarta this year. Ramita has been predominantly a junior shooter until recently, but her performances in national trials have been excellent (lowest score in qualification is 630.4!). Not the youngest of the list, but she is the least experienced in senior international competitions.

Mehuli Ghosh
Courtesy Twitter

Then we have the quota winners, the two Bengali girls, Mehuli and Tilottama. Mehuli is the closest to Rudrankksh among the women, in terms of consistency.

I have dreamt of them both winning the mixed team event in Paris. Hope she makes it. Tilottama has not had great scores this year; Sonam Maskar has taken her taken her place in the top 5 in national rankings. She makes it to the trials through her quota winning performance in Changwon 2023.

Will she be able to regain her form, come crunch time?

Elavenil Valarivan is the most experienced of this list and she is 24! It would be quite something to hear her unique name being read out in a medal ceremony. Each of these 5 are good enough to get us a medal.

Darkhorse: None

Unlucky to miss out:

Sonam Maskar: Latest WC medalist in this category. She could be a name to look out for in LA.

10m air pistol men:

In Tokyo, this was the event most likely to bring us a medal. Now, it is the least likely. It may be a good thing as there will be relatively lesser pressure.

Varun Tomar and Sarbajot are the quota holders. Varun got his quota in Jakarta in January this year and has not competed since. Sarabjot was the lone gold winner in the Bhopal WC in 2023 and did well to earn a quota in Changwon.

He has not been in the limelight in 2024. Hope both are preparing well. Arjun Singh Cheema is not far behindin terms of ceiling. But he has hit low 570s in the last 2 trials.

In the national rank list in this event, he is 27th (but the list above places him 4th; there must be some mistake). He could spring some surprises.

Darkhorse:

Ravinder Singh has competed in a few world cups and there is nothing much to write home about. Naveen (and Shiva Narwal) was on everyone’s minds in 2022. He has potential.

What happened to them?

Shiva Narwal- Hope there is someone guiding him through these tough times.

Courtesy Hindustan Times

Saurabh Chaudhary- Already been discussed to death. We’ll keep waiting.

If you are wondering who is Aditya Malra? I am also waiting to see him at an ISSF event.

50m 3p men:

Even though, Swapnil Kusale was first to get the quota (who can forget the 8 in the last shot?), Akhil Sheoran and APS Tomar will be clear favourites.

Akhil could be the oldest shooting competitor at Paris. There are no surprises among the names in this list and no one can feel hard done by. Traditionally this is an event dominated by the Europeans and no Indian has ever reached the finals at an Olympics (not even close). Realistically, that blot on our record should end soon.

Dark horses:

Chain Singh and Niraj Kumar- domestic lords. On paper, it is a 3-horse race.

50m 3p women:

For some time, this event used to be Anjum Moudgil or bust. But now, new names have cropped up; most notably Sift Kaur Samra and Ashi Chouksey. On form, these two should easily beat the field. Shriyanka Sadangi was a surprise quota winner in Changwon and Ashi has quite literally made us forget her with consistent scores over 590.

Courtesy News18

There is a world record 597 there. Similarly, Sift has the finals world record in the event- a mind-boggling 469.6 (she had 7.3 points more than the silver medallist!).

Darkhorse:

Anjum Moudgil has pedigree and could possibly give us a shock or two. Frankly, I don’t see it happening.

25m RFP men:

We had no one in this event in Tokyo. Now, we have Anish. His scores in the national trials read 588, 592, 589, 588. He has regularly shot more than 30 in the finals. His average in the national rankings is 590; the next best is 580.

It should be a shoot-off between the other 4 for the second spot. Vijayveer Sidhu appears best placed.

Unlucky to miss out:

Gurmeet- 4th in the national list. Has not competed internationally, hence not in QROG list.

Women’s pistol:

Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh and Rhythm Sangwan have already qualified. Just send them in the 2 women’s pistol events.

Have we named someone to compete in the final rifle/pistol qualification tournament in Rio? I don’t see any notifications in the NRAI website. Surely, Anuradha Devi deserves a chance. Palak too, just for that Asian Games performance. If anyone knows, let me know.

We have to wait until May 19th to know the full team. I cannot wait.

Best of luck to whoever makes it. You will already be national heroes to be representing India at Paris.

Written By Sundaram T G

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *