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2021 Tokyo Olympics: Potential impact of new Mixed Team events on Indian shooters chances

Abhishek Verma in action during the 2018 Archery World Cup
Abhishek Verma in action during the 2018 Archery World Cup
Svk Sengupta
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The shooting events of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics will be held from 24th July to 2nd of August 2021. There are a total of 15 gold medals (10 in Pistol and Rifle events and 5 in Shotgun events) on offer in this year's games.

Although the number of golds on offer remains the same as the previous 2016 Rio Olympics, there are some changes in the shooting events that will be held. Three new Mixed Team events have been introduced in place of three men's events at the Tokyo Olympics. The list of excluded and newly included events are as follows:

Events excluded from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics:

1) Men's 50m Pistol; 2) Men's 50m Rifle Prone; 3) Men's Double Trap

Newly included events at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics:

1) 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team; 2) 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team; 3) Trap Mixed Team

This reshuffling will be a major blow for some of the countries contesting the Tokyo Olympics that had excellent shooters at their disposal for the excluded events. On the other hand, countries that are strong in the Trap and the 10m Air Rifle & Pistol events, will be happy. The changes made would mean shooters can participate in mixed team events as well as individual events. This would mean they could potentially win more medals for their country at the Tokyo Olympics.

In this article, we take a look at the impact of this reshuffle of events on the medal prospect of the Indian contingent in Tokyo.

2021 Tokyo Olympics: How India could fair in the Mixed Team events

1) 10m Air Pistol Mixed team in Place of 50m Men's Pistol:

Impact: Positive (Increases Medal prospect)

Jitu Rai during the 2016 Rio Olympics Shanghai 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup
Jitu Rai during the 2016 Rio Olympics Shanghai 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup

India have not won any Olympic medals in the 50m Men's Pistol event thus far. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jitu Rai (the then Asian champion in the 50m event) provided India's best shot at winning a medal. However, he struggled under pressure and finished 12th, failing to reach the finals.

Currently India does not have a world leading shooter for this event at the Tokyo Olympics. Their performance in this event was disappointing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games as well.

On the other hand, the 10m Air Pistol Mixed team event is one that Indian shooters have dominated ever since its inception three years ago. The teams have won gold medals in this event in almost all the World Cups held in the last two years.

At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, India will be represented by two teams in this event and both are among the favorites to win a medal. The two teams are:

a) Abhishek Verma & Yashaswini Deswal

b) Manu Bhaker & Saurabh Chaudhary

Expected Medal Count: 1-2

Gold: 1; Silver: 0-1; Bronze : 0-1

2) 10m Air Rifle Mixed team in Place of 50m Rifle Prone Men:

Impact: Positive (Increases Medal prospect)

Joydeep Karmakar looks on during the Men's 50m Rifle Prone Shooting Final in the 2012 London Olympics
Joydeep Karmakar looks on during the Men's 50m Rifle Prone Shooting Final in the 2012 London Olympics

The 50m Rifle Prone event is another event in which India never won an Olympic medal. The best ever performance in this event by an Indian, was a 4th place finish by Joydeep Karmakar in the 2012 London Olympics. Currently India does not have world class shooters for this event. This was proven by the 50m Rifle Prone contingent's failure to win a medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

On the other hand, the 10m Air Rifle Mixed Team event is one of the strongest events for India in shooting. They have the best shooters in the world in both the 10m Air Rifle Men's and Women's sections. As a result, the performance of the Indian mixed teams have also been excellent.

They have won the majority of the gold medals in this newly introduced event over the last 2 years. This makes them favorites to win the gold medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The two Indian teams who will be participating in this event at the Tokyo Olympics are as follows:

a) Divyansh Singh Panwar & Elavenil Valarivan

b) Deepak Kumar & Anjum Moudgil

Expected Medal Count: 1-2

Gold: 1; Silver: 0-1; Bronze : 0-1

3) Trap Mixed Team in Place of Double Trap Men:

Impact: Negative (Decreases Medal prospect)

The Men's Double Trap event, which got excluded from this year's Tokyo Olympics, has traditionally been strong for Indian shooters. This is the event in which India won its first ever Olympic medal in shooting, when Rajyavardhan Rathore clinched the silver in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

India currently have some of the best shooters in the world for this event, with the likes of Ankur Mittal and Shardul Vihan in their ranks. Had this been held in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, India would have been one of the top contenders for a medal.

Ankur Mittal (right) poses with his Bronze Medal from the 2018 Commonwealth Games
Ankur Mittal (right) poses with his Bronze Medal from the 2018 Commonwealth Games

However, the Trap Mixed event which has been included as a replacement, is one of the weakest shooting events for India. They have not performed well in this event since its inception. As no Indian trap shooters were able to win a quota spot in the Tokyo Olympics, there will be no Indian participation in the Trap Mixed Team event.

Expected Medal Count: 0


Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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