New Delhi: India’s 30-member shotgun shooting team will face one of their biggest tests in the world championships beginning in Moscow on Friday.
The ISSF tournament will be an opportunity for shotgun shooters from across the world to qualify for the prestigious World Cup Finals, slated to be held in New Delhi in October.
Medal winners in each of the five disciplines will secure places in the Delhi event.
As far as Indian shotgun shooting is concerned, only Ankur Mittal has managed to qualify, riding on his silver and gold medals in the season’s first two World Cups in the Indian capital and Acapulco, Mexico.
The teams for trap and double trap have been boosted by the return of longtime coach Marcello Dradi, who joined on Tuesday after being stuck in Italy with visa issues.
Mittal, a double trap specialist, will be gunning for another podium finish, having won a gold medal at the Asian shotgun championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, earlier this month.
He will be shooting in the double trap event alongside Sangram Dahiya and Mohammad Asab.
The men’s trap team will be spearheaded by 26-year-old Kynan Chenai, who recently bagged his first international medal at the senior level — a bronze at the 7th Asian shotgun championship.
Kynan’s team mates in the discipline will be Zoravar Singh Sandhu and Birendeep Singh.
Mairaj Ahmad Khan will be India’s best bet in skeet, with young Rashmee Rathore rising up the ranks gradually.
While Mairaj is an experienced campaigner, having also represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Rathore’s morale will be high after combining with Mairaj for her first international medal — a gold — in what was billed as a test event in Astana.
Rathore has now set her sights on the World Championships, which concludes on September 10.
In the men’s skeet, India will be represented by Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Sheeraz Sheikh, besides Mairaj.