Manu Bhaker and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar will be eyeing to overcome their Olympic demons as the duo gear up for the ISSF Junior World Championships on September 27. India has sent a large contingent of 74 shooters, coaches and support staff for the competition scheduled to be held in Peru from September 27 to October 10.
Manu Bhaker, World No. 2 in women’s 10m air pistol event, will compete in five events at the Junior Worlds. The youngster was a sensation at the 2018 ISSF Junior World Cup in Sydney and Suhl. She was the headline-maker with five medals at the World Cup.
However, she failed to live up to the expectations at the Tokyo Olympics. Going into the Summer Games, she was dubbed as the favorite for a medal in the three events – 10m air pistol, 10m air pistol mixed team and 25m air pistol. However, the Haryana-shooter had a disappointing tournament.
National head coach Ronak Pandit feels Manu Bhaker is not ready to compete as she has technical flaws that need to be fixed.
Jaspal Rana and Manu Bhaker to compete again
In addition to overcoming the Olympic let-down, Manu Bhaker will also have to put her differences with coach Jaspal Rana aside for the competition.
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has decided to send Rana as chief coach of the junior team at the Worlds. This comes as a shock as the federation had called him a ‘negative influence’ on the shooters.
Rana, though, seems to have forgotten the fallout and is now looking for a positive performance from the Indian squad in Peru. He told Sportskeeda exclusively:
“I am going to Peru as a national coach. I am not anyone’s personal coach there. I am open to helping anyone who feels like it."
Fellow Indian Olympian Aishwary Pratap Singh will also feature at the event in Lima. He will participate in the 50m rifle 3 positions. Manu Bhaker will partner with Sarabjot Singh in the 10m mixed event.
In addition to the Olympic duo, Vijayveer Sidhu, Anish Bhanwala, Ganemat Sekhon and Mehuli Ghosh will also be in the spotlight. This will be the first multi-discipline event since the Tokyo Olympics, which will see participation from as many as 32 nations and nearly 370 athletes.
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There are 14 gold medals at stake in the first three competitive days of the championship.