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India looks to bid for shooting's 2020 Tokyo Olympic quota event

NRAI president Raninder Singh today expressed optimism that a smooth conduct of the year's first World Cup.

Published: 20th February 2017 08:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2017 08:30 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is looking at the upcoming ISSF World Cup as a stepping stone to prepare a strong bid for hosting a qualifying event for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
    
NRAI president Raninder Singh today expressed optimism that a smooth conduct of the year's first World Cup -- a first for the country -- will go a long way in helping India make a bid for one of the Olympic quota events next year and the year after.
    
To be conducted at a cost of Rs 1.25 crore, the mega-tournament will be held at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range from February 22 to March 4.
     
"It's a way for us to showcase to the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) that we are very, very capable of hosting the tournament smoothly. Our target is to host a successful tournament so that we can build a bid for holding a quota event for the Tokyo Games," Raninder said.
     
Though the next World Championship in 2018 has already been allotted to Changwon, Korea, there will be quite a few other quota events, including World Cups and Asian Championships.
     
In the upcoming tournament, a total of 50 countries will be represented by 452 athletes and among them will be reigning and former Olympic champions, world champions and continental champions lining up against India's top guns.
     
Considering the magnitude of the event, the NRAI chief called it "historic in itself".
     
Speaking to the media at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, Raninder said, "The sport of Shooting has come a long way in the country and the ISSF World Cup, New Delhi, 2017 is certainly yet another inflexion point for the sport in the country. We warmly welcome all visiting athletes, officials and delegates. It is a proud moment for all our countrymen and we are confident that our athletes will give their very best to make the tricolour fly high.
     
"This would not have been possible without the proactive support of the Government, the Ministry of Sports and the Sports Authority of India and I wish to thank all of them for making this happen." Also present on the occasion were Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang, Olympians Jeetu Rai, Heena Sidhu and Kynan Chenai, who will be spearheading the Indian challenge.
     
As discussions shifted to the Abhinav Bindra-led panel's recommendations of reforms, Raninder said that the suggestions have been implemented to a large extent, 95 percent to be precise, in his own words.
     
He said that another committee will soon be formed to assess the implementation of the panel's recommendations. The panel was constituted to probe Indian shooters' dismal show at the Rio Olympics, where they could not win any medal.
     
He said the team for the year's first three World Cups has been picked on merit and the NRAI had tried to strike a balanced approach.
     
All the Indian shooters present exuded confidence ahead of the World's top shooting competition and asserted that while it was a great feeling playing a World Cup at home, the pressure of expectations would play a role.
     
A world-class field has already started assembling in the capital for the season's first World Cup, the complete cycle for which also ends in India this year with the World Cup Finals, slated at the same venue in October.
     
Among the world's top shooters present will be the likes of Diana Bacosi, Gabriele Rosetti, Hoang Xuan Vinh, Mengxue Zhang, Felipe Almeida Wu, Kimberly Rhodes and double Dakar rally champion and Olympic bronze-medallist Nasser Al-Attaiya.
     
Despite a world class field, Raninder was optimistic of India pulling off a decent show, pointing out that the fresh faces in the team are capable of reaching the finals and even finishing on the podium. 

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