Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang set for action in Asian Air Gun Championship
Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra will be the cynosure of all eyes while Gagan Narang and Chain Singh will also look to hit the bullseye as the Indian shooting squad begins its campaign in the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship here.
New Delhi: Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra will be the cynosure of all eyes while Gagan Narang and Chain Singh will also look to hit the bullseye as the Indian shooting squad begins its campaign in the 8th Asian Air Gun Championship here.
The opening day's action will feature Bindra, a gold medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Games bronze medallist Narang, and Chain Singh, in the 10-metre air rifle event at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range.
All the three shooters have secured quota places for next year's Rio Olympics.
The second day will see the likes of Apurvi Chandela in action in women's 10-metre air rifle. While Chandela has already earned an Olympic quota, the others are working hard towards their stated goal.
Besides Bindra and Narang, the country's other top shooters such as Vijay Kumar, Jitu Rai, Henna Sidhu and Ayonika Paul will be competing in the tournament.
The September 27-30 event precedes the Asian Shooting Championship at Kuwait in November -- the last event for shooters from the continent to win quota places before the quadrennial sporting extravaganza begins in less than a year from now.
"It will be good preparation for Rio. I'll be using this competition as preparation for future. I am training everyday.
The range looks better, the lights are more constant," Bindra, India's lone individual Olympic gold medal winner, had said when asked about the significance of the tournament.
The Indian stars will be up against the likes of world number 5 in men's 10m air pistol, Vladimir Issachenko of Kazakhstan and world number 6 in women's 10m air rifle, Elaheh Ahmadi of Iran.
Other top international shooters participating include Yu Jaechul and Hye Jin Lee of Korea, Rashid Yunumetsov and Yuriy Yurkov of Kazakhstan, Najmeh Khidmati, Narje Emamgholi and Hossein Bagheri of Iran, SER Xiang Wei Jasmine of Singapore and the 15-year old talent from Tajikistan, Malika Lagutenko.
India have so far bagged eight Rio quota places. They had won 11 quota places before London 2012 and the National Rifle Association of India President Raninder Singh's stated aim is to go one better as the bare minimum for Rio 2016.
A total of 180 shooters from 14 Asian countries will be participating in the four-day competition, with hosts India fielding the largest squad of 56 shooters across the senior, youth and junior segments.
Medals will be given out in both individual and team categories.
Other top shooting countries which will be seen in action include the likes of Korea, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Iran, Mongolia, Japan and Singapore. India's neighbours -- Bangladesh and Bhutan -- have also confirmed participation.
All seven of India's quota winners in rifle and pistol including Bindra, Narang, pistol ace Rai and Gurpreet Singh, Prakash Nanjappa, Chain Singh and Apurvi will be seen in action by the home fans.
Other stars like Pooja Ghatkar, Chain Singh and Heena Sidhu would also be looking to defend their respective titles, which they won last year when the event was held in Kuwait.
An international shooting competition is being held in India after a gap of almost five years, the last being the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.