Indian shooters leave for World Cup

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) The Indian shooting team left early morning Sunday to participate in the ISSF World Cup in Changwon, South Korea from April 2-10.

The 30-member team, which includes Olympic medallists Abhinav Bindra and Vijay Kumar, looked very confident after a training camp in Delhi.

This is the first World Cup of this year for the rifle and pistol shooters and will be played with the new ISSF rules. Major changes include new finals for all Olympic events where all finalists start from zero. This means that qualification score will not be carried into the final anymore, making the scoring immediately understandable for the spectators.

Furthermore, all finals feature elimination and end with duels between the two best athletes to decide the gold and silver medals. This step was taken to engage a worldwide public by attracting spectators and fans through an appealing and easily understandable competition format.

Although the Indian shooters got introduced to the new rules in the recently held two selection trials but it will be interesting to see how they perform.

All eyes will be on London Olympics silver medallist Vijay as he competes in his pet event, the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol. If Vijay has a good outing, he will move to World No.1 ranking.

“I am looking forward to a good competition and will give my best shot there. We have had a great camp in Delhi and my teammates Pemba Tamang and Harpreet Singh are also in excellent form,” said Vijay.

Beijing Olympics gold medallist Bindra will be competing in the 10m Air Rifle event along with Sanjeev Rajput and Chain Singh while Gagan Narang has decided to skip the event.

The new rules should be good for Bindra as he has always been a good finalist. Way back in the 2003 World Cup, Bindra narrowly missed a bronze at the same venue after he had qualified with a score of 596 but was unable to find a podium finish then.

Recently married Heena Sidhu will compete in the women’s 10m Air Pistol event. Heena took a break after her marriage and missed the last National Championships and the selection trials.

The team is a mix of experience and youth with the youngest member being Akhil Sheoran at 17.

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