Shooting: Olympic aspirant Ganemat misses out on bonus points

Skeet shooter finishes sixth in ISSF World Cup in Lonato; NRAI likely to announce shotgun team for Paris Olympics in a day or two
Indian skeet shooter Ganemat Sekhon
Indian skeet shooter Ganemat SekhonPhoto | Express

CHENNAI: Ganemat Sekhon had done all the heavy lifting in the qualification stage, held across three days (starting June 16).

In a 52-woman field, she had dug deep to gradually climb the ladder and had eventually survived a shoot-off to become one of the six shooters to reach the final in the ISSF World Cup in Lonato del Garda (Italy), thereby being in contention for a medal.

In the 60-shot final, which transpired after the last round of the aforementioned qualification stage, the 23-year-old had four green dots (indicating a hit). But the cookie crumbled soon. Four misses in the following 10 shots meant her fate was more or less sealed.

Despite some greens in the following shots, it was a case of too little, too late as Ganemat—the first shooter from the country to capture an individual medal in the women's skeet event of an ISSF World Cup—became the first finalist to be eliminated.

Given that the National Rifle Association of India, the governing body of the sport in the country, is set to announce the shotgun squad for the upcoming Paris Olympics in a day or two, Ganemat, having done all the hard work, is likely to be gutted having missed out on a chance to bolster her chance of inclusion.

As per NRAI selection policy, shooters are entitled to bonus points (six points for gold, four for silver and two for bronze) for top-three finishes in World Cups (2023/24). India have two quotas in women's skeet and Raiza Dhillon, Maheshwari Chauhan (both quota winners) are the frontrunners to secure a ticket for Paris.

"It's interesting (Ganemat reaching the final). All the coaches/officials will sit and assess their performances and announce a team in a day or two. It is all wide open," a NRAI official said after Ganemat reached the final.

As per the provisional ranking published by NRAI on March 12, Raiza is on top while Ganemat is second. Maheshwari is third. But it should be noted that this was before the latter had added the second quota for India. Quota earners are entitled to bonus points, according to the NRAI selection policy. The ranking was published after the Olympic selection trials, which is the main basis of criteria for selection as per NRAI policy. All their individual performances since the 2022 World Championships will be taken into consideration. The official said that Maheshwari is No. 1 as of now.

In the same event, Maheshwari finished 30th, while Raiza took the 39th spot. While Ganemat made a tame exit, Diana Bacosi of Italy was all smiles as the Rio Olympic champion climbed atop the podium with 57 hits.

The other event that the selectors would have taken a detailed look at is the men's trap event. Bhowneesh Mendiratta, who earned the quota for the country, narrowly missed out on a medal just a few days ago and as per the provisional ranking, he's ranked third behind Prithviraj Tondaiman and Vivaan Kapoor. It should be noted that the rankings tend to be dynamic and could have changed over the course of time.

Women's trap to get additional quota?

Meanwhile, it'll also be interesting to see if India will get a chance to swap an unused Olympic quota (from women's pistol discipline) to women's trap, where the country currently has one quota. Quota exchange, if permitted, can only be done in the same gender.

"According to the rules (set in the "Qualification System" for Paris 2024) an NOC may request to change a maximum of one (1) Quota Place from one event to another event within the same gender. So yes, India can request a change from a Rifle/Pistol event to a shotgun event," the ISSF said when asked about the same.

Quota winner Rajeshwari Kumari is No. 1 as per the aforementioned provisional ranking. Shreyashi Singh is No. 2. Rajeshwari had finished 45th just a few days ago, while Shreyasi had finished a spot above her. Manisha Keer, the other shooter who's likely to be in contention if there's a second quota for India, had finished 41st.

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