Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
About 500 top shooters from 60-nations are all set to hit the targets for 14 Tokyo Olympic quotas up for grab in the ISSF World Cup Rifle commencing at Dr Karni Singh Range here tomorrow,
The World Cup had originally 16 quota places to offer but after the denial of visas to two Pakistan shooters in the wake of last week’s Pulwama terrorist attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) scrapped the two places from the men’s 25m rapid fire event, in which the Pakistani duo were to participate but were denied visa by the government.
The three Indian shooters in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event are Anish Bhanwala, Arpit Goel and Adarsh Singh. The other two Indian shooters in this event, Bhavesh Shekhawat and Gurpreet Singh, are shooting only for the minimum qualification score and are not going to be eligible for either medals or Olympic quotas.
India is fielding 23-member team for this competition. Besides the Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol and the two 10m Mixed Team Air Rifle and Air events, all the rest of the seven events in the five day competition schedule will distribute two Tokyo quotas each.
India has already won the maximum possible two quota berths in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event and therefore will compete for 12 quotas in six events, besides trying to win an ISSF World Cup medal.
Saturday will witness the first and only final of competition day one, the women’s 10m Air Rifle final where three Indians — Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valaraivan — are among 102 competitors from 44 nations
A world-class field consisting of at least six former and reigning Olympic champions, seven former and reigning World Champions and several Olympic and World Championship medalists and multi-medalists as well as Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champions will entertain fans in live Olympic sporting action.
The ISSF, the Organizing Committee and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) have also arranged for the largest LIVE TELECAST of an ISSF World Cup stage ever.