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Rio Olympics 2016: Analysing Gurpreet Singh's medal chances at his first Olympics

Will it be a surreal debut for Gurpreet Singh at the Olympics?

Gurpreet Singh will have a chance to win at his first ever Games

29-year old Gurpreet Singh is one of the 12 Indian shooters who will be travelling to the Rio Olympics with high hopes. The shooter joined the Indian Army 12 years ago but he did not have the fascination for shooting back then. It was actually landmines that he was interested in.

In a recent interview, Singh told The Indian Express how he was excited about the engineering classes in the Army where they had to build and place landmines.

Singh hails from the Naushehra Pannuan village in the Tarn Taran district in Punjab. The population of the village is close to 10,000 and being in the Army is like a tradition for the villagers.

The shy shooter was inducted into the Army at the age of 17 and got his first experience of shooting in the Army where he hit the bullseye with his first ever shot while practicing. His seniors were impressed by the young boy’s skills and asked him to develop himself into a trained shooter.

Whilst Singh wanted to complete his training in the engineering section, he was asked to get into shooting for the upcoming inter-battalion competitions of the Army. His fate led him to compete for the nation in various international events throughout the world.

The shooter bagged his first major medals when he won two gold medals and one bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in India. He had won the gold in the 10m air pistol pairs and in 25m rapid fire pairs events and then the bronze came from the 25m rapid fire individuals event.

Just like many of his fellow Indian shooters, Singh has also been a part of the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) of the Indian Army. Singh’s shooting credentials were given a boost after tasting success in the 2010 CWG.

He has always been consistent with his performances in all the ISSF events. But the stand out  is his performance in the 25m rapid fire pistol where he has finished in the top-10 in a total of 12 times in the ISSF World Cups and World Championships.

Gurpreet Singh’s major achievements so far:

Gold –10m air pistol pairs, 2010 Commonwealth Games, New Delhi, India.

Gold – 25m rapid fire pairs, 2010 Commonwealth Games, New Delhi, India.

Silver – 10m air pistol, 2015 Asian Championships, New Delhi, India.

Bronze – 25m standard pistol, 2013 Asian Championships, Tehran.

His major achievement in recent years was winning the silver medal in the 10m air pistol event at the 2015 Asian Championships held in New Delhi. He also won the bronze medal in the 25m standard pistol event at the 2013 Asian Championships held in Tehran. The shooter has been consistent but that has not reflected in his results. He has struggled to fight his competition as there are some great shooters in the categories he participates in.

The Indian has been unable to get into the top-3, having finished many times at 4th

When he participates in Rio, the 29-year old will have an uphill task. He will be up against some of his fiercest rivals – the ones he has failed to beat in recent times to win a medal. The shooter will be competing against the likes of Ukraine’s Oleh Omelchuk, Korea’s Jong Oh Jin, and China’s Pang Wei in the 10m air pistol event. Whereas, in the 25m rapid fire event, Singh will have to beat Cuba’s Leuris Pupo, China’s Zhang Fusheng and Germany’s Christian Reitz to have a chance at the medals.

He will also have to face tough competition from his compatriot Jitu Rai in the 10m air pistol event. Whether Singh can get a silver lining on his list of achievements when he steps foot at the Olympics will be interesting to see. But as for now, his focus is on mentally preparing himself for the events, and making sure that he gives his 100% on the day which matters.

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