Countdown To Tokyo Olympics: Meet India’s Skeet Team of Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan

For the first time ever, India's skeet team for an Olympics will comprise of 2 shooters. Here we profile the duo of Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa - Tokyo Olympics India's Skeet Team
Mairaj Ahmad Khan and Angad Vir Singh Bajwa

At the 2019 Asian Shooting Championships, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan created a stir by winning gold and silver and qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Indian shotgun was for long known only for Trap and Double Trap. In 2015, Mairaj created history by becoming the first Indian Skeet shooter to qualify for the Olympics at Rio 2016. Six years later, Indian representation in shotgun will be restricted to these two Skeet specialists with no one from Trap being able to make the cut.

Here we profile the duo Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan

Mairaj Ahmad Khan

Mairaj Ahmad Khan
Mairaj Ahmad Khan
Name Mairaj Ahmad Khan
Date of Birth2 November 1975
Birth PlaceBulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh
Current World Ranking24 (2021)
Sport/Event(s)Shooting – Men’s Skeet
Major achievementsSilver at ISSF Rio de Janeiro World Cup (2016)
Silver at Asian Shooting Championships (2019)
Bronze at Asian Shooting Championships (2016)
Men’s Team Gold at ISSF Delhi World Cup 2021
Men’s Team Bronze at ISSF Cairo World Cup 2021
First Indian Skeet shooter to qualify for the Olympics (Rio 2016)
First Indian Skeet shooter to win an ISSF World Cup Medal (2016)
First Indian to score highest qualification score of 125/125 in Skeet

Mairaj Ahmad Khan would be competing in his second consecutive Olympics at Tokyo. At Rio 2016, he narrowly missed out on qualifying for the finals on a shoot-off and ultimately finished 9th. He was one of the few bright spots of India’s disastrous shooting campaign at the Rio Games.

The Committee formed by the NRAI in the aftermath of the Rio debacle was scathing towards most other shooters but had words of praise and encouragement for Mairaj – “A commendable performance. A good example of an outside shot, who was sincere, being able to perform very well simply by following the plans of a good coach for a long period.

Prior to the Rio Olympics, Mairaj had won a silver at the ISSF World Cup (becoming the first Indian skeet shooter to do so) in the same venue in early 2016 in order to book his place for the Games. He later went on to finish 4th in the 2016 World Cup Finals.

For Tokyo, he qualified after winning silver at the Asian Championships 2019. Though ISSF finals places have been fleeting after Rio, Mairaj won gold and bronze in Men’s Team events at the World Cups of Delhi and Cairo this year. He also put in a good performance in the Mixed Team qualifications at Cairo.

For Tokyo 2020 though he will have to up his game and rediscover his 2016 form to get a shot at qualifying. Regardless of what happens at the Games, Mairaj, a former cricketer and a late bloomer in the sport of shooting, will always be regarded as a trailblazer in the Indian shotgun scene.

Angad Vir Singh Bajwa

Angad Vir Singh Bajwa is part of India's Skeet Team at Tokyo Olympics
Angad Vir Singh Bajwa
Name Angad Vir Singh Bajwa
Date of Birth29 November 1995
Birth PlaceChandigarh
Current World Ranking30 (2021)
Sport/Event(s)Shooting – Men’s Skeet
Major achievements2 Golds at Asian Shooting Championships (2018, 2019)
Current finals World Record Holder (60)
Men’s Team Gold at ISSF Delhi World Cup 2021
Mixed Team Gold at ISSF Delhi World Cup 2021
Men’s Team Bronze at ISSF Cairo World Cup 2021
Mixed Team Silver at Asian Championships (2018)
Junior Men’s Skeet Individual Gold at Asian Championships (2015)
Junior Men’s Skeet Team Gold at Asian Championships (2015)

Angad Vir Singh Bajwa is best known for setting a new Finals World Record of 60 on the way to winning gold at the 2018 Asian Championships. He successfully defended his title the following year.

International medals though have eluded Angad so far. He till now has not made it to any ISSF World Cup final. His best placing was 7th at Acapulco 2017. Similarly, at the 2018 Asian Games, he finished 14th and could not qualify for the finals.

Angad however has had more success in the non-Olympic team competitions. At the 2021 Delhi World Cup, he won Mixed Team gold along with Ganemat Sekhon and the Men’s Team gold along with Mairaj and Gurjoat Khangura. At the Cairo Shotgun World Cup this year, the Men’s trio had won bronze.

Angad’s recent dip in performance was attributed to a change in fitness regime to get in shape for the Tokyo Olympics. Angad is still young and has plenty of time on his side to make improvements. He has already achieved more than most other Indian skeet shooters and would be hoping to take Tokyo as a learning experience.