The ISSF World Cup gets underway on Feb 22 with Tokyo Olympics places up for grabs. 495 shooters from 58 countries would be participating in the mega event which begins at the Karni Singh Shooting range in Delhi.
India would be participating in 14 of the 16 olympic quotas available in this edition of the ISSF Rifle and Pistol World Cup. The hosts have already bagged their maximum share of two in the women's 10m rifle competition.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manu Bhaker will be one of the star attractions among the 23-member strong Indian squad. Bhaker, who will be competing in her first home World Cup, also has a different reason to be excited.
"It's my first World Cup at home. The best thing is that I am getting home-cooked food as mom brings food from home every day," siad the two-time World Cup gold medallist. "If I happen to win an Olympic quota nothing like it," she added.
The 17-year-old shooting sensation had faced some criticism after she failed to win a medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, but Bhaker clarified that it was not due to her inability to cope with pressure.
India have already bagged their maximum share of two in the women's 10m rifle competition through Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela.
Young and upcoming rifle shooter Elavenil Valarivan feels that a World Cup at home is a big motivator even though there is no quota spots left for India to earn in her event.
"A World Cup in your country is always big and we will have advantage playing at home. Of course, the rifle quotas are already taken by Anjum & Apurvi, but there's still a lot to play for us considering it's a World Cup," the 19-year-old Valarivan,
Sunidhi Singh would also be making her India debut at the World Cup in the 50m Rifle 3 Positions event.
Pakistan requests for withdrawl of two quotas Pakistan have requested ISSF to withdraw Olympic quota places in the 25m rapid fire pistol event, in which Commonwealth Games gold medalist Anish Bhanwala is India’s biggest hope.
On the eve of the opening ceremony of the Delhi World Cup, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) threatened ‘consequences for India as a host country for future international competitions’ since it failed to provide visas to Pakistan shooters. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder conceded this is a violation of Olympic charter but refused to speculate on the possible sanctions the country could face.
The world body had sought a meeting with sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Wednesday evening to resolve the ‘urgent situation’. At the time of going to the press, though, there was no confirmation if the meeting took place.