Pistol shooters to set the tone for Indian charge in ISSF World Champ
India has so far earned three Paris Olympics quota places and there are huge expectations from the 53-strong contingent
BAKU: Indian men's and women's 10m air pistol shooters will take the first shot at medals and Paris Olympics 2024 quota places when the ISSF World Championship commences here on Thursday.
Sarabjot Singh, Shiva Narwal and Arjun Singh Cheema will take aim in the men's event, while in the women's section Divya TS, Esha Singh and Palak will vie for the honours alongside a galaxy of top shooters who have descend on Azerbaijan's capital for the mega event.
India has so far earned three Paris Olympics quota places and there are huge expectations from the 53-strong contingent -- the biggest among 101 participating countries.
India has so far won Olympic quota places through Rudrankksh Patil (men's 10m air rifle), Swapnil Kusale (men's 50m rifle 3-Pos) and Bhowneesh Mendiratta (men's trap).
The first half of the Championship, which will run till August 24, will see 15 finals in Olympic categories. A total of 12 individual Olympic events carry as many as four Paris Olympics quotas places, besides medals.
Among those competing here include six reigning Olympic champions and several former Olympic and world champions.
The reigning champions include France's Jean Quiquampoix (men's 25m rapid-fire pistol), Switzerland's Nina Christen (women's 50m rifle 3-Pos), Iran's Javad Foroughi (men's 10m air pistol), Slovakia's Rehak Stefecekova Zuzana (women's trap), Czech Republic's Jiri Liptak (men's trap) and the USA's Vincent Hancock.
Besides them, all the 12 world No. 1s in Olympic events will also be seen in action here.
The second-largest contingent after India has been fielded by Germany, which has sent a 44-member squad, while the US has entered with 40 athletes.
Asian and world shooting powerhouse, China, has entered the event with a 36-member squad while the other major Asian shooting powerhouse Korea has also fielded a 39-member contingent.
As far as the ISSF World Championships go, India, over the years, has won 85 medals, including 31 gold, but a majority of the medals are in the junior category.
While India is fielding 34 shooters in Olympic events, the others will compete in non-Olympic disciplines.
France, which is hosting the Olympics, has a quota reserved in each of the Olympic shooting events, while China does not have quota places in trap and skeet events so far.
USA has the maximum quota places -- 15 -- till now and have exhausted their slots in five of the 12 events, including men's trap and skeet, women's 10m air rifle, 50m rifle 3-Positions and skeet.
Other traditionally strong shooting nations such as Italy (7), Czech Republic (6), Germany (5) and Korea (5) also have more quota places than India at this stage. An individual shooter can only win one quota place for his country and each country in turn can only win two quota places per event.