New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) A 13-member Indian squad will travel to Cairo, Egypt for a shotgun World Cup that starts on February 24. It is the first World Cup event which the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) is organising after nearly a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As many as 191 athletes from 33 nations have entered the fray for the men's and women's skeet World Cup. The athletes will be vying for medals in the 10 events scheduled over eight competition days, beginning with the men's and women's skeet shooting competitions on Wednesday.
The Cairo World Cup assumes additional significance given this will be the final chance for shooters to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics on the basis of World Ranking points. For example, the current world number one in men's Trap, Mauro De Filippis of Italy, still does not have an Olympic berth and will be looking to hold on to his ranking points with a good show to confirm his quota.
The Indian men's skeet squad has Tokyo Olympics quota holders Angad Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan. Gurjoat Khangura completes the three-man squad. The women's skeet squad features Ganemat Shekhon, Parinaaz Dhaliwal and Karttiki Singh Shaktawat.
The first final will be in the women's skeet event and is scheduled for February 25. It will be followed by the men's skeet final on the same day.
"It's the first competition after more than a year and taking it like match practice before the Olympics as it's much needed to get back into the rhythm," said skeet finals world record holder Bajwa.
"This is the first World Cup of the year and assumes importance after the lockdown because it should give us a good start to the calendar 2021," said shotgun head coach Mansher Singh.
"Being the first experience for lot of young shooters, I think it is important for them to learn from this event, as well as those who are going to the Olympics will also get very good training prior to commencing their final preparations for Tokyo. The training is going very well and smoothly. The conditions are good for Shooting, the ranges are tough, so we expect the scores to be tough in terms of not very high. The boys and girls are happy with their training," he added.