2014 Commonwealth Games: Bindra, Heena look to start with bang in shooting

Glasgow: Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and world number one in women`s 10-metre air pistol, Heena Sidhu, are expected to set the tone for the strong Indian shooting team, which begins its campaign in the 20th Commonwealth Games here on Friday.

The other Indian shooters in action on the second day of competition will be Ravi Kumar (10-m air rifle), Malaika Goel (10-m air pistol), Arti Singh Rao and Mairaj Ahmad Khan -- in women`s and men`s skeet events, respectively.

Having won a staggering 30 medals, including 14 gold, in the last edition in New Delhi, the expectation will understandably be high from the shooters who will be converging at the Barry Buddon Shooting Range.

The 24-year-old Sidhu has been a consistent performer over the past one year and will look to use it to her advantage when she takes aim in her pet event early in the morning tomorrow.

Confidence-wise, she will be on a high having achieved the numero uno spot following her historic triumph at the Munich World Cup last November.

India will expect Sidhu to make a solid start for the contingent, which, despite fewer events, remains the country`s best bet in multi-sport extravaganzas.

She will have Bindra for company, albeit in the 10-metre air rifle hall, where the 31-year-old Beijing Olympic gold medallist will hope to do one better than the Delhi edition four years ago.

Bindra had finished second to Gagan Narang in front of the home crowd but in the absence of the Hyderabad-based pro, who`s failed to make the cut in 10-m air rifle event this time, the Zirakhpur shooter will fancy his chances even more.

Though he has, in his trophy cabinet, the ultimate prize all athletes dream of, Bindra has so far failed to win a individual gold medal in his pet event at the Commonwealth Games.

If he can replicate the form that saw him clinch the top prize in Beijing six years ago and become the first individual yellow metal winner from India in the biggest sporting event, a CWG gold does not seem far-fetched.