CHENNAI: THE 14th Asian Championship in Doha was the best chance for Indian trap shooters to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, feels former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu.
Shooters from the country added six more Olympic quotas in the event taking their tally to a record 15 but none of the trap shooters managed to qualify.
Given the scenario, India might go unrepresented in trap events at the Games for the first time since 1996 unless the shooters earn enough ranking points.
As per the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) rules, shooters earn ranking points in World Cups and international events.
At the end of May 2020, the cumulative points in each discipline will be out and in events where the national federation hasn’t got a quota, individual shooters can get a direct entry on the basis of their rankings. The ranking system has been introduced for the first time.
The 43-year-old Sandhu says he is focusing on the upcoming World Cups to garner ranking points and try to qualify for the quadrennial event.
“The two World Cups, one each in Cyprus and India, will be the key. We must make use of this chance offered by ISSF,” the veteran, who won trap gold for 12th time in the 63rd National Shotgun Championship at the Dr Karni Singh Range on Friday, told this daily.
Shotgun World Cup is scheduled from March 4 to 13 in Nicosia, Cyprus. It will be followed by Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun World Cup in New Delhi from March 15 to 26.
The six-time Asian champion admitted performances of trap shooters have been below par but asserted it’s also the federation’s job to analyse the reasons behind it.
Kynan Chenai accompanied Sandhu at the 2016 Rio Games. The 28-year-old, however, fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the Olympics despite being close on a couple of occasions this year.
“I have been close throughout the year. It’s been a tough year in that way for me. If you look at my performances this year, I’ve been very close but was not able to convert that into a quota,” said Chenai.
Like Sandhu, the Hyderabadi shooter also believes the next two World Cups will be crucial. Selection trials for the events will be held in December and January. Chenai, who bagged a bronze at the nationals, will train in India ahead of the important events.
“I have nothing else other than optimism and when you’ve hope, everything is possible,” signed off Chenai.