Trap ace Manavjit Singh Sandhu got the nod ahead of Sanjeev Rajput as the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) on Saturday announced its final shooting squad of 12 for the Rio Olympic Games in New Delhi.
World Championship medallist Manavjit was picked owing to his consistent scores in the selection trials, at the expense of two-time Olympian Rajput, who was the last Indian shooter to secure a Rio quota. He earned it in the Asian Shooting Championship in New Delhi last month.
However, as per the selection criteria, Manavjit had a better aggregate scores to make a claim for himself in the team.
Given that India had secured 12 quota places in shooting for the Games and could therefore send as many shooters, all the quota winners with the exception of Rajput, who had won a quota in the Men’s 50M Rifle 3 Positions event, made the team.
On the one quota swap, Raninder Singh, President, NRAI, said, “This is in keeping with the letter and spirit of the published Olympic selection policy wherein the parameters of performance, merit and investment have been unanimously honoured by the selection committee of the NRAI.”
The 12 shooters will give India a total of 18 starts at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The Indian squad had 11 shooters participating in the last edition of the Games in London and had come back with two medals with Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang winning silver and bronze medals, respectively.
Spearheading the Indian challenge in Rio will be Beijing Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, London Games bronze winner Narang, Multiple World Cup and world championship medallist Jitu Rai and women’s pistol ace Heena Sidhu among others.
Squad: Abhinav Bindra (10M Air Rifle Men), Gagan Narang (50M Rifle 3 Positions Men, 50M Rifle Prone Men, 10M Air Rifle Men), Chain Singh (50M Rifle 3 Positions Men, 50M Rifle Prone Men), Jitu Rai (50M Free Pistol Men, 10M Air Pistol Men), Gurpreet Singh (25M Rapid Fire Pistol Men, 10M Air Pistol Men), PN Prakash (50M Pistol Men), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (Trap Men), Kynan Chenai (Trap Men), Mairaj Ahmad Khan (Skeet Men), Apurvi Chandela (10M Air Rifle Women), Ayonika Paul (10M Air Rifle Women), Heena Sidhu (10M Air Pistol, 25M Pistol Women).