10m air rifle: Competitive, crowded field
This is the ‘Abhinav Bindra Event’. Among the current crop though, it’s the duo of Ravi Kumar and Deepak Kumar who stand as the front runners. Deepak claimed silver at the Asian Games in Jakarta last year while Ravi, who finished fourth, had earned bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast. At the New Delhi World Cup, Ravi finished 14th in the qualifying round, missing the cut by 1.4 points, while Deepak came up 34th with a deficit of 4.1.
Also in fray is Divyansh Singh Panwar, 17, who finished with gold at the Asian Championship in Taiwan last month. In the women’s category, Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela had already earned the maximum two quotas available for the country at the World Championships in Changwon last year. Consistency though is the key in that event, as the pair will have to continue shooting high scores to earn the spot ahead of compatriots Mehuli Ghosh and Elavenil Valarivan in what is proving to be the most competitive event for Indians.
10m air pistol: Bhaker, Sidhu in fray
Two of the biggest names in Indian shooting, former world no 1 Heena Sidhu and teenage sensation Manu Bhaker will take to the field in the women’s air pistol event. Both however, are in different stages of their career. Sidhu is an experienced campaigner, while Bhaker is a talented athlete and the current holder of the qualification record in the 25m pistol event. Both however, failed to make it to the air pistol finals in New Delhi.
Bhaker, in turn, came second in qualification for the 25m pistol event in February, and eventually finished fifth in the finals. She will be competing along with Sidhu and 25m pistol specialist Rahi Sarnobat at the event in Beijing.
In the men’s air pistol event, 17-year-old Chaudhary shot a historic world record in the finals at New Delhi to win gold, thus winning India a quota. A second is available for the country, and Shahzar Rizvi, Arjun Shigh Cheema and 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist Abhishek Verma will vie for that final quota.
50m 3 Position events: Moudgil aims high
Anjum Moudgil’s quota from the 10m air rifle will enable her to compete in the 50m 3 Position. The challenge now will be to maintain consistency in the latter, which is known to be a gruelling event. Her scores however will not enable her qualification into the final round at Beijing since she’s shooting under ‘Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS).’ Instead, the Indian contingent has Gaayathri Nithyanandam, who has never qualified for a senior World Cup final before, and Sunidhi Chauhan, whose only prior international experience came in New Delhi.
Men’s 25m Rapid Fire: Three quota places
This is the only event at the Beijing World Cup that will offer three quotas rather than two. At the New Delhi World Cup, the Indian Government’s failure to grant visas to the two-man Pakistani delegation – both of whom were to compete in the Rapid Fire – prompted the ISSF to strip the competition off its quota places in this discipline.
Heading the Indian lineup is the talented 16-year-old Anish Bhanwala. The teen first shot into the limelight by scoring what would have been the world record score of 37 in the trials for the 2018 Commonwealth Games last year (the score was not ratified as it was a domestic event.