Asian Games 2018: Indian shooting contingent will hope to continue the golden run of Gold Coast
After a disastrous Rio Olympics and a below par 2017, the first half of 2018 was just the refresher the Indian shooting contingent needed. A successful outing at both the ISSF World Cup and the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 has rejuvenated India's medal hopes at any major multi-sporting event. Next up will be the Asian Games 2018, to be held in the two cities of Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia and scheduled to start on 18 Aug 2018.
Asian Games are probably the first event in the sporting calendar - that actually test the abilities of the participants - before they go for the ultimate sojourn at the World Championships/Summer Olympics. Asian Games are nothing less than 'Mini Olympics' for many sports (including shooting), given the ultra-competitive atmosphere and the standard of competition one experiences.
The Indian shooters know this too well and their performance at the Commonwealth Games will ultimately be tested at the Asiad in order to determine their potential for the coveted podium at the Summer Olympics.
The mental agony of the Rio Olympics will also still be fresh, where Indian shooters returned home empty-handed. Among the 12 shooters, only two people, Beijing 2008 gold medalist Abhinav Bindra and the emerging powerhouse Jitu Rai, managed to enter the finals of their respective events, of which Abhinav missed the podium by a whisker.
This will also serve as the right preparation for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers, that shall officially commence with the closure of the Jakarta Asian Games. The Asiad is an excellent opportunity to right all the wrongs in time to achieve ultimate glory at Tokyo Olympics, 2020.
Manu Bhaker, Jitu Rai, Mehuli Ghosh, Anish Bhanwala, Heena Sidhu, and Om Prakash Mitharval are some of the shooters Indian fans will be rooting for a medal.