Why Indian shooters have a great chance at redemption in 2018
The aura that once surrounded the Indian shooters is on the wane. Gone are the days when at least one Olympic medal would be assured for India from this genre. The shooters returned empty handed from Rio Olympics, their worst performance since Sydney 2000.
However, the year 2018 can bring the smiles back on the faces of Indian fans of shooting as the schedule promises a brilliant showdown for the Indian shooters.
The year for Indian shooters will officially begin from March when the shooters will be vying for glory at the ISSF World Cup to be held at Guadalajara in Mexico between 1 and 12. The tournament could serve as a brilliant warm up for the senior shooters who shall face their first major challenge at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The competition will take place at Gold Coast City in Australia from 4th to 15th of April. Meanwhile, the colts will compete at the Junior World Cup which is slated to be held at Sydney from 19 to 29 March.
The above tournaments present tremendous opportunities for shooters like Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu to make their mark. They will also be hoping to consolidate their positions as potential aspirants for Olympic medals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Jitu, who had missed the podium by a whisker at Rio Olympics, will make sure that he performs well. On the other hand, Heena should look forward to improving her results in major tournaments.
This is also the first major year wherein the rifle shooting team could be going without the iconic Abhinav Bindra. Gagan Narang, whose best performance has been only a bronze medal at London Olympics, will be aiming to come out of Bindra's shadows and establishing his own image in rifle shooting.
The next challenge for the Indian shooters will be the ISSF World Cup, which shall be held at Changwon, Korea, from 20th to 30th of April, which shall serve as a golden warm up for the young guns of Indian shooting, who shall be participating in the Youth Olympics qualifiers, which shall be held at Fort Benning in USA from 7th to 15th of May.
The Indian shooters will then assemble for the next series of ISSF World Cup. The tournament is scheduled to be held at Munich for the rifle and pistol segments from 22 to 29 May. The shotgun segment will take place in Tucson at USA from 9 to 19 July. Shooters like Mairaj Ahmad Khan, who had missed the skeet final at Rio 2016 by a whisker in the tie breaker, will get a chance to make themselves count.
Another looming opportunity for the Indian shooters will come in the form of the Asian Games. The event will be held at Jakarta in Indonesia from 18 August to September 2nd. While the Asian Games will be the final showdown for senior shooters, the colts will represent the nation at the Youth Olympics to be held at Buenos Aires in Argentina from 6th to 18th October. As of now, almost 7 shooters have already made the cut for the same.