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Indian shooters in a spot after Olympic postponement – Times of India, The Times of India

Indian shooters in a spot after Olympic postponement – Times of India, The Times of India

PUNE: There can never be a perfect formula to pick a winning team. It gets even tougher for the Olympics .

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), however, got close to finalizing the best possible squad for the Tokyo Games two weeks back. But before the selected names could be rubber-stamped, the Tokyo Games were postponed for a year.

Shooting has been India’s best medal bet over the last four Olympics. The last year was exceptional for Indian shooters, with three shooters ending as world No. 1. India also impressed by winning 27 quota places for Tokyo, their best yet. With gold, six silver and three bronze, India had finished as the No . 1 shooting nation in ISSF’s ranking last year.


For most of the quota holders in other Olympic sports, the postponement means one more year of training. For shooters, who earn the quota place for the country and not for themselves, it is 823 more days of uncertainty, insecurity and may be, over-training.

The NRAI will have a task at hand. They have to select an ideal team for the 01575879 Games without compromising on shooters’ well-being.

The federation could be left with two choices: either to go ahead and announce the team based on the trials conducted over the past month, or keep conducting trials for one more year and wait to find the best shooters just ahead of the Games.

The NRAI is yet to share their plan with the shooters. Repeated attempts to get the federation president’s views on the issue went futile.

Whatever choice NRAI makes, it won’t be the same.

If they decide to go ahead with the first scenario, that is picking the squad based on the previous trials, they won’t have any control if the shooters run out of form before the actual Games.

If they continue to conduct trials for another year, it would mean 27 – months of continuous trials and a possible burning out of the shooters.

Apurvi Chandela, who won the quota in 2021, said keeping the shooters on hold by not announcing the team would bring a lot of pressure on them. “I feel if the team is announced now, the shooters can focus on the Olympics and train with only positive pressure,” Apurvi told TOI.

“I agree that current form is important, and to make sure the selected shooters are in form ahead of the Games, the federation can check shooters’ performance in say, December or January, if They don’t find any shooter’s performance satisfactory, they can replace him / her with the next in ranking. They will still have time, “she added.

Abhishek Verma, who clinched the quota in m pistol, too echoed Apurvi’s thought. “In the last two years, the quota holders have won medals at most of the prime events. There is nothing more they can prove in the next one year,” Verma said.

Former world No. 1 and London Games bronze medallist, rifle shooter Gagan Narang , while backing Apurvi and Abhishek’s views, feels the selected shooters need to be monitored well and a pool of reserve shooters should be kept ready. “The key challenge is to always be able to select the best ‘in form’ shooter one year from now hoping that he or she will peak at the right moment. We can only hope that the system gives a fair chance to the best shooter to be selected. ”

He added: “A developmental group with reserve shooters should be formed. ”

In the past . months, the Tokyo hopefuls – quota winners and others – have shot in competitions (international events and special trials).

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