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ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol: Indian Shooters Eye Strong Performance Ahead Of Paris Olympics

The Paris-bound pistol and rifle marksmen would like to use this last competitive outing to gauge their preparations for the Olympics.

Rudrankksh Patil will be seen in action. Photo: X/@Media_SAI

Away from the oppressive Indian summer, the country's shooters would be hoping to further fortify their preparations ahead of the Paris Olympics when the ISSF World Cup (Pistol/Rifle) commences here on Saturday. (More Sports News)

Several shooters, who recently appeared in the gruelling nearly month-long trials in New Delhi and Bhopal, were keen to skip the World Cup because of "fatigue" and to focus on their Olympic preparations.

But with the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) making participation in WC compulsory, and also reportedly thrashing out the contentious issue of personal coaches with the shooters, the Paris-bound pistol and rifle marksmen would like to use this last competitive outing to gauge their preparations for the Olympics.

The issue of personal coaches had become a major point of contention. The shooters felt that there was little "flexibility" being given to them vis-a-vis personal coaches at the national camp.

Though the issue seems to have been sorted for now, many personal coaches would not have accompanied their wards as the federation's decision came on the day the shooters were leaving for Munich.

With several shooters having displaced the original Paris quota winners in the national squad following a series of four Olympic Selection Trials (OST), the federation would also be keen to see how they perform in the World Cup.

Someone like rookie Army man Sandeep Singh coming out of nowhere to top the national trials and push former world champion and Paris quota winner Rudrankksh Patil out of Olympic contention has put the federations in a fix.

While the 20-year-old Rudrankksh is one of the best 10m air rifle shooters the country has produced after Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, the federation will have to strictly abide by its Olympic selection policy -- of picking the Paris-bound team based on the OSTs -- as a deviation could lead to more headaches in the form of litigations for the NRAI.

Several Olympic quota winners, after losing out to country-mates during the trials, had written to the federation to be considered for Paris, leading to a never-before-seen scenario.

The NRAI can also name the Olympic contingent, a process which is already delayed, while the shooters are competing in the World Cup.

At a time when several countries have announced their Paris-bound squads, India is still struggling to name the shooting contingent.

It is strange too because shooters need a lot of time to do the last bit of fine-tuning, including ammunition testing -- the most critical exercise for events such as the Olympics and World Championships.

The World Cup could provide shooters the opportunity to connect with the manufacturers in Europe to test the ammunition they would like to use at the Olympics.

The World Cup will commence with men's and women's 10m air rifle. The finals in the two events will be held on Monday.

In men's 10m air rifle, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Babuta and Rudrankksh Patil will be seen in action, while in women's 10m air rifle, Elavenil Valarivan, Ramita and Tilottama Sen will compete.