"Standing is my strength" - Akhil Sheoran sheds light on intricacies of 3-position event while on cusp of Olympic qualification

Akhil Sheoran has his sights set on Paris after gold in Jakarta
Akhil Sheoran has his sights set on Paris after gold in Jakarta

Ace shooter Akhil Sheoran is a step away from booking a place for himself at the Paris Olympics after having secured a quota for the Indian team thanks to his exploits at the Baku World Championships last year.

Akhil, who won a bronze at the 2023 ISSF World Championships in the 50m men's rifle 3-position competition, left no room for doubt as to his capabilities after winning gold at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jakarta earlier this year.

During an extensive and exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda, the 28-year-old explained the intricacies of the gruelling 3-position event while also revealing that he is most comfortable in the standing position.

Akhil's expertise in the 10m rifle event in which he has represented the country in the past stands him in good stead in the challenging standing position.

"It's often said that the standing position is the most challenging of all since one does not have any support. In the kneeling and prone positions, there is a sling belt for support whereby the rifle can be fixed to the shoulder," Akhil Sheoran elucidated.
"Standing is my strength. I am also a 10m shooter and was part of the Indian shooting team for quite a long time. I was also the World University champion," he stated. "That has helped me do well in the standing position and I feel it's quite easy."

The shooter from Uttar Pradesh stressed that when he ends the prone and kneeling rounds in fourth or fifth place, he is confident of catapulting himself to the top of the table in the standing position.

Akhil Sheoran also shed light on why the points table goes topsy-turvy in the standing position round, pointing out that many European shooters are less competent in the standing round as compared to kneeling and prone.

"In the finals as well, we need to shoot from all three positions. First comes kneeling followed by prone and then standing. If I am above the top 5 or top 4 following the prone position, I am always confident that I can win a medal because the standing position is my strength," he asserted.
"The same does not apply to other shooters. Many European shooters are very good in kneeling and prone, but not so much in the standing position. This is one reason why the points table changes so dramatically when the standing round is on. Some who struggle with kneeling and prone, suddenly move up when the standing round begins," Akhil Sheoran added.

After sorting out his early struggles in the kneeling position, Akhil is focused on bagging a medal in Paris but needs to clear the NRAI trials to get there.

"I used to struggle just a bit with kneeling but I have worked on my deficiencies and I am now proficient in all three positions," said Akhil with an unmistakable sense of confidence.

"No matter who earns the quota, going through the NRAI trials is a mandatory requirement for Olympic qualification" - Akhil Sheoran

Akhil Sheoran is a step away from Olympic qualification
Akhil Sheoran is a step away from Olympic qualification

Akhil Sheoran is on the cusp of history but will need to clear one final hurdle in order to board the Olympic-bound flight to Paris.

Performing in the four NRAI trials is a mandatory requirement to make the final cut as Akhil Sheoran disclosed before adding that things are "fabulous" and on the right track.

"No matter who earns the quota, going through the NRAI trials is a mandatory requirement for earning the right to take part in the Olympics," he stated before pausing to delve deeper. "Currently, I am the World No. 1. but what I have achieved in the past is not going to take me to the Olympics."
"I have to perform in the four NRAI trials and finish amongst the top two in order to be eligible to make the journey to Paris. My preparations are on the right track and everything is fabulous at the moment," the champion shooter revealed.

As per the NRAI, "any quota won by an Indian athlete belongs to the NRAI and the country. Though due consideration shall be afforded to such an athlete per provisions of this policy, it does not necessarily imply that merely winning a quota place in itself suggests that only that particular athlete shall eventually represent the country at the Olympic Games in 2024."

The NRAI does, however, "honor" the winner of the quota place with "quota points" ahead of the trials.

Akhil Sheoran is exclusively managed by Baseline Ventures.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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