Rathore misses out; Heena, Karmakar in Indian shooting squad

New Delhi: Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore failed to find a place while rising talents Heena Sidhu and Joydeep Karmakar got the nod in the 11-member Indian shooting team, announced on Sunday for the London Olympics.

While Rathore`s name did not go beyond the discussion stage in the selection meeting, which took place at Rudrapur in Uttarakhand, Heena and Karmakar were rewarded for their consistency.

Missing out were Hariom Singh and Army`s Imran Hasan Khan, as the calculations of various scores the shooters had managed, were also taken into account while picking the team.

Heena figured in the list after the selection committee exchanged the quota won in 50M Rifle 3 Position (Imran) with Air Pistol women event as it felt that India has a better chance of winning a medal in air pistol.

As per International Shooting Sport Federation rule, a country is allowed to exchange one quota won by its shooters with another, subject to its availability and confirmation by ISSF.

Imran, despite having a quota, was left out as India has already reserved a maximum two slots in the 50M Rifle 3 Position category - that of Gagan Narang and Sanjeev Rajput who are ranked higher than Imran and have also qualified for the Games.

For 50-metre Rifle Prone, Karmakar was favoured over Hariom Singh as the former is leading in this event.

For the record, it is for the first time that a woman trap shooter would participate in Olympic Games since the start of quota system in 1988, with Shagun Chowdhary representing India in this event.

"The decision was unanimous. We looked at who is a better prospect and who can win medals," said NRAI advisor Baljit Singh Sethi.