New Delhi has been confirmed as the host for the Olympic qualifying event slated to be held from January 24 to February 4 next year, reports TOI. The Asian shooting event will be held at the Dr Karni Singh shooting ranges at Tughlakabad.
The event is set to offer a maximum of 35 Olympic berths in the three disciplines of shooting- rifle, pistol and shotgun. An official announcement on the same is expected very soon, but New Delhi, in all likelihood, will play host to the event. "There were three bids to host the quota event. UAE and Kazakhstan too had placed bids, but theirs were only for shotgun events and not for rifle and pistol. India, on the other hand, had offered to host all three," the source in TOI reported. As of now, 2008 Beijing gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and 2012 London bronze medallist Gagan Narang have already qualified for the Rio 2016 Games. Along with the prolific duo, other shooters who have qualified for the showpiece event next year, include Apurvi Chandela, Jitu Rai, Gurpreet Singh, Chain Singh, Prakash Nanjappa and Mairaj Ahmed Khan. The upcoming qualifier event will be of more importance for Heena Sidhu, Ranjan Sodhi, 2012 London silver medallist Vijay Kumar and Manavjit Singh, who are all eyeing an Olympic quota. Playing at home should help them a great deal in preparing for the event, and the subsequent shooting events, leading up to the Olympics next year.
India have put in commendable performances in the last three Olympics in shooting, with Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore winning the silver medal at the 2004 edition in Beijing, Bindra winning the gold in 2008 and Vijay Kumar and Narang clinching a silver and bronze medal respectively.