There was a little help from India in 20-year-old American shooter William Shaner’s success at the Tokyo Olympic Games, who won the 10m air rifle gold on Sunday (July 25) even as Indian marksmen, Divyansh Panwar and Deepak Kumar, failed to qualify and finished 32nd and 26th respectively.

Shaner, who shot 251.6 in the finals to create a new Olympic record, had competed in the indianshooting.com International Online Shooting Championship (IOSC) in June this year organised by Delhi-based former international rifle shooter Shimon Sharif and had finished fourth.

Competing in the tournament from the American Olympic shooting team’s training base in Colorado Springs, Shaner had first completed a series of 60 shots and qualified for the finals in the IOSC.

In fact, India’s only individual gold medallist at the Olympic Games, air rifle marksman Abhinav Bindra had tweeted his appreciation for IOSC and its organiser on Sunday, saying “Am sure your online competition had a positive role in his (Shaner’s) preparation!”

Following the online match, Shaner had shared his experience about the online tournament, saying, “It was a great experience. It was a great challenge to work through to the finals.”

USA shooting coach Dan Durben had said in June that competing in the online competitions was very good preparation for his team’s shooters and the results will show in the Tokyo Olympics.

“The challenge of staying focused during the breaks in an online competition would come in handy in Tokyo,” Durben had said.

–IANS

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