HYDERABAD: Just back from the International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup in Changwon, trap shooter Kynan Chenai is not disheartened with his 15th position. After his debut at the Rio Olympics in 2016, this Hyderabadi boy is gearing up to compete for the nation in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics 2020. Although it didn’t take him long to go from taking up professional shooting to the Olympics, he did train since a tender age. He speaks to Hyderabad Express in a candid chat about how his inclination towards the sport began and how he grew to represent the country on the world arena.
It seems to have been a long week for you...
It’s actually been a long two months! I’ve been in three continents for three competitions in the last two months- Mexico, UAE and Korea. I have a short break and then I will be flying to Italy for the World Championship.
The ISSI World Cup didn’t seem like it went as great as you would’ve expected...
I think it was bad luck. It was a loss of one point here and there. But at the end of the day it’s the game. You win by one point, lose by one point. However, I’ve been shooting really well. I have had a good start tot the year. I’ve started off well that’s a positive. My form is only going to improve. Usually my year starts slow but picks up later. And to have such a good start to qualify next year. Winning the spot is all that matters.
You are young in the international trap shooting space. But how long have you been at it?
I started off young - since I was 12 years old. I’m a daddy’s boy who loves outdoors and had a fascination towards guns. He was a shooter and he would take me to the range and let me try my hand at it sometimes. We eventually discovered that I was pretty good. I shooting through school and college in the Under 21 category. But I took it up professionally four years ago just before the Rio Olympics.
Rio was your debut in Olympics and you’re hopeful for the Tokyo Olympics. What’s going to be different?
Last time I was a rookie. You learn a lot at the Olympics. Funnily, I learnt that it was no different from any other competition. If you steer away from the hype you can stay in your zone. You compete with 300 people at world championships but just 35 in the Olympics. These 35 are the best of the best but they are lesser people to compete with. If you’re on your A game then you can strike quite naturally.
Rio Olympics were an emotional rollercoaster with the hype, the emotions the pressure and the feeling of, “OMG”. But you see that only see it looking back not when you’re there. This time I have already experienced the hype, I can focus on the sport.
How do you see trap shooting growing in the country and in the city?
In the national level the numbers are going up tremendously. Juniors are doing great but it all depends on their hard work. The big step forward for the sport is that the numbers grew from 200 to 500 last year. However, in Hyderabad, the scope for trap shooting is slim. It’s just me shooting on the range. Promising juniors are coming up in skeet shooting, though. I wish there were more trap shooters training with me from Hyderabad.
Is there any attention towards the sport either through the infrastructure from the government or the public?
We are going to need more attention towards the infrastructure because the numbers are increasing. The upkeep of the government range is struggling. Here in the range located in University of Hyderabad campus, I do it myself. If we can refurbish and make it a little more world class it will be a benefit for all of us. I wish there was more attention paid to our sport. If the media and TV cover it, it would generate so much interest.
What have you got to say to young shooters who are looking at taking up the sport?
Most people are afraid to take it up because it is to do with guns. But you will be intrigued by it once you take it up. Our shooter community is always helpful too. People go out of their way to help newcomers. Moreover, if you can get back a medal for your country it can’t get any bigger. Give it a shot!