Apurvi Chandela and Elavenil Valarivan will represent India as the shooting events begin on Saturday with the women’s 10m air rifle competition at the Asaka Range.
Coaches of both the rifle and pistol camps were upbeat after completion of pre-event training.
National rifle coach Deepali Deshpande said, “The girls are all raring to go and training today has been as planned. We are confident of a good showing tomorrow.”
Also sharing his thoughts was pistol coach Ronak.
“Yes the boys trained for an hour today as did other members of the squad and they are all shaping up well. We are all looking forward to the start of competitions and are focused on the job ahead,” Ronak said.
India is being represented by 15 participants in the shooting events, which will witness two finals on the opening day of competition.
In the women’s 10m air rifle event, ROC (Russia) athlete Yulia Karimova, the reigning world champion in the 50m rifle 3 positions event and Chinese Taipei’s world number four Lin Ying-Shin will pose the biggest threat to the Indian shooters.
In-form shooters like Carolyne Mary Tucker of the US, Ziva Dvorsak of Slovenia, Sofia Ceccarilo of Italy, and Eszter Mezaros of Hungary will also pose a strong challenge along with the Chinese duo of Wang Luyao and Yang Qian and Korean shooter Eunji Kwon.
Generally, a score of 630 out of a maximum 654 ensures qualification into the finals at this level. The Indian duo has recorded best of 633 (Apurvi) and 632.7 (Elavenil) in competitions respectively.
Apurvi also holds the finals world record in the event with a score of 252.9.
The field is without the 2016 Rio Games medallists, and therefore, will have a new Olympic champion.
In the men’s 10m air pistol, Saurabh and Abhishek have been two of the most dominant shooters in the world over the past three years, but the smaller 36-man field comprises some of the greatest names in this discipline, led by the biggest of them all — the inimitable Korean Jin Jong-oh — and China’s Pang Wei.
Jong-oh, a four-time Olympic gold medallist (including once in this event), is also the reigning world champion and will have for company, Beijing Olympic champion Pang Wei, the Rio Games rapid fire pistol champion Christian Reitz of Germany and the 2016 defending champion in this event, Hoang Xuan Vinh of Vietnam.
The Indian duo will also have to contend with the challenges of ROC athlete Artem Chernousov (world number three), in-form Iranian Javad Foroughi (world number four and winner of the last two World Cups before the Olympics), seasoned Serbian Damir Mikec, recently crowned European champion Juraj Tuzinsky of Slovakia and top-class Ukranian shooters Oleh Omelchuk and Pavlo Korostylov among others.