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Olympics debutant Kynan Chenai determined not to be starstruck in Rio

Kynan Chenai, 25, made the cut at the Asian Olympic qualifiers in January by tying with three others on a score of 12 after the first 15 shots.

Written by Shivani Naik |
Updated: July 3, 2016 12:57:59 pm
Kynan Chenai, Kynan Chenai Olympics, Kynan Chenai Rio Olympics, Rio Olympics, India at Rio Olympics, Olympics shooting, India Olympic shooters, India news, Sports news The first-timer is determined not to be star-struck — unless he runs into “Roger or Djokovic”

Kynan Chenai was in London a few years ago. But not ‘there’ for the Olympics. Not ‘there’ when the five giant Olympic rings were suspended from the Tower Bridge or when the interlocked circles, mounted on a barge, passed under it to ring in the biggest sporting spectacle. Which was odd.

Kynan was studying at a university there and the young shooter says he felt trapped on the campus, far away from his life’s target — the Olympics. He was miserable.

“When I was young and just starting to shoot, I would see Olympic rings somewhere and I would tell myself that I would work to be there one day. I would watch the Games on TV every four years and would be dying to be there,” he says.

Father Darius, who incidentally won the National Shooting Championship held last December in Jaipur, would finally take the call. Pulling his son out of university, he brought the drooping shoulders back to India and urged him to re-start shooting full-time. “This time I’ll be at the Olympics. It’s happening. So I’m very happy,” Kynan says.

The 25-year-old had an eventful qualification. He won the quota in January after missing the first two World Cups of the season and watching his dad win the nationals ahead of him — he says he got ribbed for it. The quota place wasn’t enough as he lagged in the national selection trials — a longer process that rewards consistency. But lagged only just. So when a quota swap came up, the youngster regained his berth.

Kynan had a good outing at the World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan — narrowly missing out on medals after qualifying for the finals — assuring him that his five hours a day on the range and three hours in the gym were doing him good.

Kynan says the enormity of representing India at the Games is yet to sink in. “I think it will hit me only after the Games, because you can only be an Olympian after you have gone and participated,” he says.

He might be a first-timer but he’s determined not to be too star-struck — unless he runs into “Roger or Djokovic” in the Games Village. Getting into the Olympics was his dream but he doesn’t want the Olympics to get to him. “I forget everything when it’s just me and the target. In my opinion, training is the hard part, competition is the fun stuff,” he says.

Shooters carry a lot of baggage into Olympics — the literal luggage of the shotgun and equipment, that is. So Kynan Chenai wants to travel light otherwise. “Pair of sun glasses, flip flops and some mosquito repellent, that’s it.” And a crystallised fulfilled dream.

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