By Navneet Singh
New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) India hasn’t secured an Olympic Games quota in men’s 25m rapid pistol, but the shooting world governing body could allot individual quota to the shooter who accumulates good ranking points by May 31, the deadline for allotting individual quotas.
World’s 12th ranked Anish Bhanwala, the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games champion in this event, seems to have the brightest chance from India to secure the individual quota.
However, the 18-year-old talented shooter, a multiple medal-winner in the junior World Cups in 2018 and 2019 season, is not in form these days. In the fourth national selection trials – as well as the previous trials – for March’s Delhi World Cup, Bhanwala has not been impressive.
In the second round of the trials, being held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges here on Friday, failed to reach the final of the 25m rapid pistol event.
Delhi’s Arpit Goel was the winner with 30 points, Adarsh Singh was second with 29, and Vijayveer Sidhu was third with 25 points. Friday’s result would brighten the chances of the top three shooters to compete in the New Delhi World Cup, starting on March 18.
Bhanwala had also failed to finish among the top eight in the third round of the trials on Thursday, an indication that he wasn’t in good form.
“I’m going through a bad patch. That’s all I can say about missing the finals on two consecutive days at the trials. I know it’s crucial time for me to perform well, but it would take time to regain the lost ground,” the Haryana shooter told IANS after Friday’s match.
Looking forward, Bhanwala said: “I’ve my fingers crossed whether I would be selected for the New Delhi’s World Cup.”
Last month, too, Bhanwala couldn’t exhibit the spark he had shown during the 2019 junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany, where he won gold in the 25m rapid pistol event.
The average of January and February trials will be taken into consideration when the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) selection committee picks up the national squad for the New Delhi World Cup.
The World Cup on the home ground assumes importance as it offers valuable ranking points to shooters that would enable them to improve their overall global rankings and stay on course for individual quota places.
In the men’s 50m rifle three positions, 2021 Olympic quota holder Sanjeev Rajput continued his good run by winning the fourth round of the national selection trials on Friday. He shot 1,182/1,200 in the qualifying round — his best score at the trials — to advance to the eight-man final in pole position. He shot 463.1 points to win the 45-shot final while Niraj Kumar second with 459.6.
Talented world No.1 Elavenil Valarivan won the women’s 10m air rifle title with 251.6 points. In the qualification round, her score was 632.1.
Yashaswini Deswal, who is on the NRAI’s banned list of shooters for participating in unauthorised online shooting competition during Covid-related lockdown last year, won the women’s 10m air pistol trial. She shot 242.9 in the final.
Although Yashaswini has been barred from competing in the nationals, to be held tentatively in May, she was permitted to compete in the trials.
Seasoned shooter Shweta Singh was second with 240.6 in the 10m air pistol while Manu Bhaker, the winner of the third round of trial finished seventh on Friday.