Changwon (South Korea), Sep 1 The Indian shooters' quest for securing Olympics quotas will gather pace as they compete in the ISSF Word Championships, which begins here Sunday with as many as 60 berths on offer for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The Indian shooting contingent will be high on confidence after its fine showing at the Asian Games in Indonesia.
India has entered a 91-strong squad for the International Shooting Sport Federation's (ISSF) premier global competition.
The tournament in the South Korean city will be the beginning of the Olympics qualifying cycle and India will be targeting the maximum possible quotas. A total of 60 berths will be distributed across the 15 Olympic events.
The first competition day has two finals scheduled. The pair of Ravi Kumar and Apurvi Chandela and Deepak Kumar and Mehuli Ghosh will vie for honours in the 10m air rifle mixed team event.
In the 10m air pistol mixed team event, India's hopes will rest on Abhishek Verma and Manu Bhakar and the duo of Shahzar Rizvi and Heena Sidhu.
Experts involved with the team exuded confidence on the eve of the competition.
"We arrived here four days early and the squad has settled down well. There was a training camp in Delhi before the Asian Games and even after the Asian Games began, the camp with the remaining shooters of the squad carried on and went really well," said former shooter and High Performance coach of the senior pistol team, Samaresh Jung.
"You have all seen our performance in the Asian Games. Practice here has also been regular and very good. Given all these aspects, we are confident of a good performance here in Changwon, but of course the competition is of the highest standard possible."
Between the World Championship and April 30, 2020 -- the last day for earning Olympic berths -- a total of 360 quotas will be distributed across 15 events. Quotas will be given through the 2019 ISSF World Cup stages, and designated Continental Championship or Games in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
At Changwon, the 12 individual events will offer four quotas each while the three mixed team events will give two each. In the mixed team events, each individual of the top two teams earn quotas for their country.
A total of 53 medals, including the 15 Olympic events, across individual and mixed team events will be contested for men and women. These would also include 24 junior events at the Changwon International Shooting Range.
The championship will see participation from over 1800 athletes representing 90 nations.
The Doha edition of the World Championship remains India's most successful as Abhinav Bindra and Manavjit Singh Sandhu won a gold each and the country came back with a total of six medals.
India have so far won 12 individual and two team medals at the showpiece event. AH PM PM
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