New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) Despite the scrapping of two of the 16 Tokyo Olympics quotas on offer, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Rifle/Pistol New Delhi 2019 is all set for an exciting start with around 500 shooters from 60 nations gunning for glory at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range here from Saturday.
India has already won the maximum possible two quota berths in the women’s 10m Air Rifle event and therefore the 23 home shooters will compete for 12 quotas in six events, besides trying to win an ISSF World Cup medal.
The World Cup had originally 16 quota places to offer but after the denial of visas to two Pakistan shooters in the wake of last week’s Pulwama terrorist attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) came down hard on the hosts and scrapped the two places from the men’s 25m rapid fire event, which the Pakistani duo were to participate.
The three Indian shooters in the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event are Anish Bhanwala, Arpit Goel and Adarsh Singh. The other two Indian shooters in this event, Bhavesh Shekhawat and Gurpreet Singh, are shooting only for the minimum qualification score and are not going to be eligible for either medals or Olympic quotas.
Saturday will witness the first and only final of competition day one, the women’s 10m Air Rifle final where three Indians — Anjum Moudgil, Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valaraivan — are among 102 competitors from 44 nations.
Besides the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol and the two 10m Mixed Team Air Rifle and Air Pistol events, all the rest of the seven events in the five-day competition will distribute two Tokyo 2020 quotas each.
A world-class field consisting of at least six former and reigning Olympic champions, seven former and reigning World Champions and several Olympic and World Championship medallists and multi-medallists as well as Asian Games and Commonwealth Games champions will entertain fans in live Olympic sporting action.
The ISSF, the Organising Committee and the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) have also arranged for the largest live telecast of a shooting World Cup stage ever.
This World Cup will go around in 80 countries across five continents. In India, Sony Picture Network (SPN) has been given the rights.