India look for more Olympic berths at Asian Championship

Doha: As the Indian shooting contingent gears up to earn more Olympic quota places in the Asian Shooting Championship that gets underway, coach Sunny Thomas says they can ill afford to replicate the previous edition`s results.

"We all know what happened at the last Asian Championship in 2008 where not one quota could be bagged. It cannot, should not and will not be repeated. I am keeping my fingers crossed," Thomas said.

Athens Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, former trap world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu and former world No. 1 in 10m Air Rifle Anjali Bhagwat are yet to qualify for the Olympics and the championship will be the last opportunity for them to book their berth for the mega event.

Nine Indian shooters, including the likes of Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and double trap world number 2 Ronjan Sodhi, have already booked their berths for the marquee event.

The final selection for the mega event, though, wrests with the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), who take into consideration the players` scores in competitions throughout 2011.

The association is expecting a good show with the performance of shotgun shooters at the recently concluded Asian Shotgun Championships adding to their aspirations.

"India has emerged as a powerhouse in world shooting. We have had two World Champions and two junior World Champions, Olympic medallists and multiple World Cup winners," said NRAI President Raninder Singh.

"We have won medals at all major international competitions. We expect great shooting from our team in Doha and expect the quota tally to go up to around 14," he added.


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