Rio Olympics 2016: Analysing Kynan Chenai's medal chances at his first Olympics
Should India be expecting a medal for the 25-year-old shooter?
Kynan Chenai is a 25-year-old Indian trap shooter who qualified as a member of the 12 person shooting contingent that will be representing India at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Kynan grew up in a family with a shooting background and is the son of former national level shooter in the trap event, Darius Chenai. The latter is also the General Secretary of the NRAI, therefore there has never been a shortage of support for the youngster in getting to the top.
The Hyderabad-born shooter took his first steps into the sport when he started going to the shooting range in his hometown in 2003. The city had hosted the National Games, hence a new venue for shooting was opened for the public. He discovered his love for shooting there where he used to practice under the guidance of his father. His talent and love for the sport led him to many junior level tournaments from thereon.
He was then coached by four-time former Indian Olympian, Mansher Singh. In order to get to the senior scenario, Kynan won two consecutive gold medals in the trap event at the 50th and 51st National Games. He took his next big step when he managed to win the gold medal at the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games held in Pune. That was a time where he had a choice to make between his studies and shooting, but after consulting with his family, he chose the latter.
A victory in the Junior Asian Championships in the same year motivated him to take his shooting international. The 25-year old went on to compete in various ISSF Junior World Championships till 2011. After having experienced shooting in different competitions in different parts of the world, Kynan competed in three ISSF World Cups in 2011. However, the youngster could only finish in the 20s at all the three events.
Kynan Chenai’s best finishes at major events so far:
5th rank – 2014 Asian Championships, Al Ain, UAE.
6th rank – 2016 ISSF World Cup, Baku, Azerbaijan.
6th rank – 2014 ISSF World Cup, Beijing, China.
He has continued to improve and it is reflecting in his performances. He has since participated in 13 events in all, including the ISSF World Cups, World Championships and the Asian Championships. Kynan booked his place at Rio by finishing fourth in the trap event at the Asia Olympic qualification event held earlier this year. He will be joined by the experienced Manavjit Singh Sandhu in the trap event at the Olympic Games.
The duo will be facing tough competition from the world’s top three ranked shooters – Spain’s Alberto Fernandez, Slovakia’s Erik Varga and Czech Republic’s Jiri Liptak. The Spanish shooter goes into the Olympics as the number one ranked shooter but he has had two disappointing Olympic Games where he finished 33rd and 25th in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
But Kynan, who is currently ranked 18th in the world in trap shooting, is one of the brightest prospects in the sport. The youngster has the ability to cause an upset on his day, but he will be needing a bit of luck at Rio.
It is Kynan Chenai who is India’s best bet in the shotgun event. If he wins, it will not only bring India a medal in the shotgun category after 12 years, but it will set the stage for Chenai to win more accolades for India in the future.