Some of them studied hard, did their homework, appeared for exams, practiced harder and then shot, to win. They were back at the range again, working on their game to remain what has been an unprecedented upswing.
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The number of Tokyo Olympic quotas, which now stands at a record 15, is not only a reflection of the country’s rapid rise in the sport over the last one year but also sets up the shooters nicely for a record haul in Tokyo Olympic, after the meltdown at Rio de Janeiro.
Indian shotgun best show at the Olympic Games in 2012 remains the two medals won at London, but if the shooters’ exploits in recent months are anything to go. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), having endured an unpleasant experience in Rio, is far from basking in its shooters’ glory yet.
The association is impressed with the presentation which may have exceeded prospects but, instead of celebrating, it is looking at ways to protect them from “exploitation and distractions “. That called for taking some very hard decisions, including banning the shooters from adoption any fresh marketable deals in the run-up to the Olympic 2020 Games, a move that may not have found favors with many.
NRAI president Raninder Singh said “Even the shooters’ parents will have to sign a bond that no exploitation will be done for financial gains, something that has been termed a breach of personal space. The federation has also worked widely towards bringing the sport to where it is today, and it doesn’t want all its hard work to go waste in the Tokyo Olympic.”
Paying attention to the helpful measures suggested in the Abhinav Bindra-led committee’s scathing statement, which was filed after the tragic outing in the last Olympic, the NRAI altered Indian shotgun. With the help of people like Jaspal Rana and Smaresh Jung, the federation has successfully achieved its junior program, leading to the emergence of aptitudes like Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary, Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan.
Nobody jumped as big as Rajput, who came out of insignificance to clinch the men’s 50-meter rifle 3-position silver and the Tokyo Olympic quota place in the Rio World Cup. Nine medals, including five golds at the September World Cup in Rio and three in the year-end significant World Cup Finals in Putian, China, recommend that the sport is headed in the right way. Their success also presented the depth of the talent pool in Indian shotgun.
The federation is hoping that its trailblazers transfer their form into Tokyo, but before that, the shooters will also have chances to win a few more medals and boost their morale further. One of them is the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in New Delhi in March. India vehemently protested to the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (GCF) move to exclude the sport from the roster for the 2022 Birmingham version.