Women’s 10m Air Rifle analysis after a new National Champion


Women’s 10m Air Rifle analysis after a new National Champion

WhatsApp Image 2019 12 16 at 10.52.57 PM

The 10m Air Rifle Women Nationals were concluded yesterday, with the qualification stage lasting for several days due to the large no. of shooters participating.

The results may not entirely be a surprise to those who closely follow the sport of shooting. Two of the Fab Four (Mehuli and Apurvi) finished on the podium, while the event was won by the youngster and Khelo India discovery Zeena Khitta. Mehuli Ghosh won Silver while Apurvi Chandela won Bronze medal. Mehuli grab the gold in junior section while Zeena placed sixth.

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The rather low-scoring qualification round was topped by the SAG 2019 Silver medalist Shriyanka Sadangi who shot 627.9, while Zeena, Mehuli and Apurvi shot 627.4 , 627.2 and 627.1 respectively. 625.1 was the cut-off for the final. The other two Fabs Anjum and Elavenil shot 624.1 and 623.7 respectively which meant the current World Nos. 4 and 1 finished a lowly 20 and 24 in the Nationals.

What the Nationals demonstrate is the fickle nature of shooting. In this sport, someone who has won an international award for being the best shooter in the world may not even make it to the finals of a domestic tournament held a few days later, and vice versa. In fact the most recent Olympic and World Championship Gold Medals were won by the unfancied Virginia Thrasher and Hani Im.

Also Read : The-fab-four-of-indian-shooting

In the past when India had only one or two big names in shooting, the loss of form of a top shooter would have been a cause for concern. However since the reforms made by the NRAI post the Rio 2016 debacle, there has been a sea change. Now we have a no. of world class shooters in almost every rifle and pistol event, each equally good as the other. The deep bench strength means we are no longer reliant on a few individuals. This can be seen from the results of the Nationals.

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The Fab Four have been one of the biggest success stories in Indian shooting since 2018. They are one of the best examples of the depth of talent in Indian shooting currently.

Here are their results (with average qualifying score) in ISSF WCs, WCF and WCH since 2018, compared to some top international shooters. Indian shooters have won 4 out of 5 gold medals last year.

1.Ying-Shin Lin TPE 626.8 Finals:5 Medals:4
Elavenil Valarivan 629 Finals:3 Medals:2
2.Laura-Georgeta Coman ROU 627.2 Finals:4 Medals:2

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Apurvi Chandela 628.4 Finals:6 Medals:2
3.Hana Im KOR 623.7 Finals:1 Medals:1 (World Champion)
4.Eunhea Jung KOR 629 Finals:4 Medals:1
5.Ruozhu Zhao CHN 628.6 Finals:4 Medals:3
Anjum Moudgil 627.5 Finals:4 Medals:1 (Silver, World Championships 2018)
6.Seonaid Mcintosh GBR 625.1 Finals:1 Medals:1
7.Luyao Wang CHN 627.8 Finals:4 Medals:1
8.Mingyang Wu CHN 628.1 Finals:3 Medals:2
9.Hong Xu CHN 628 Finals:3 Medals:3
Mehuli Ghosh is not included in the list as she has mostly competed in MQS events, not mentioned in the ISSF website, however her scores there, as well as in junior events have been equally impressive.

As can be seen, the performances of our top 10m ARW shooters are as good as the best in the world. We are finally working as a team, where if one shooter has a bad day the other can make up for it. The shooting superpower China is the only country with a better overall record. While shooting is an unpredictable sport, it won’t be a stretch to say that at least one finalist in Tokyo 2020 will likely be from India. It could have been even better had 3 shooters from a nation been allowed to compete.

Today’s Nationals results have only added to the uncertainty over which two of these will be selected for the Olympics. It could be the two quota winners Anjum and Apurvi or the former may only compete in 50m 3P and Elavenil gets chosen for AR instead. Mehuli gave some brilliant performance recently, but Tokyo chances are slim.

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Whichever of the two gets selected, it is reasonably certain they will be strong finals contenders. For Indian sports fans this is unchartered territory. And we can only hope our shooters will give us opportunity to see tricolor going up in middle.

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