Manu Bhaker doubles up as India names Paris 2024 Rifle and Pistol team with notable omissions

Manu Bhaker is the only Indian shooting sport athlete to be selected for more than one individual event at the Paris 2024 Olympics, having been named for the women’s 10m air pistol and 25m pistol events in a 15-strong Rifle and Pistol team announced by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).

The selectors have reportedly given precedence to results achieved in the national trials, with the result that a number of notable performers have not been given Paris places.

In the 10m air rifle men category there is no place for Rudrankksh Patil, the 2022 world champion currently world-ranked 15th, or 21-year-old Tokyo Olympian Divyansh Singh Panwar, who set a world record of 253.7 at the Cairo World Cup and is currently world-ranked five.

The selections are Arjun Babuta and Sandeep Singh, respectively 14th and 16th in the world rankings

In the 10m air rifle women there is no place for 20-year-old Nancy Nancy, who won the Asian title in a junior world record and is world-ranked three, or 23-year-old world bronze medallist Mehuli Ghosh, world-ranked 18.

Places go to Elavenil Valarivan, beaten by 0.1 in the Asian final and world-ranked 20, and Ramita Ramita, world-ranked 18.

World record holder Sift Kaur Samra and Anjum Moudgil are chosen for the 50m rifle 3 positions women, with the men’s places in that category going to Aishwary Tomar and Swapnil Kusale.

In the pistol categories Sarabjot Singh and Arjun Cheema are selected for the 10m air pistol men and the women’s places in that category go to 22-year-old Bhaker, the 2018 Youth Olympics champion, and 20-year-old Rhythm Sangwan, who won bronze at this year’s Asian Championships in both the 10m air pistol and 25m pistol.

Bhaker will also compete in the 25m pistol women along with 19-year-old Esha Singh, who won the Asian title in the 10m air pistol this year.

The pairing selected for the 25m rapid fire pistol men category is Anish Bhanwal and Vijayveer Sidhu.

All the team members, along with the coaches and support staff, are currently in a camp in Volmerange-Les-Mines, France, mainly aimed at “acclimatisation and hard-training” before they come back home for a two-week break.

The shotgun squad will be announced after the ISSF World Cup which is currently underway in Lonato, Italy and will run until June 18.

India have secured a record 21 of the 24 possible quotas for the Paris 2024 Olympics, including a full allocation of eight each in rifle and pistol events.

This is India’s best-ever quota haul in shooting at any edition of the Olympics, eclipsing the 15 from Tokyo Games.

Sharing his thoughts with thehindu.com, the NRAI senior Vice President Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, said: “After deliberating at length, we feel we have selected the best team on current form as per merit and sticking to the policy.

“We are confident that everything has been put in place for the team to deliver. Given our depth in rifle and pistol, some very good shooters are not part of the squad. However, they will have a chance to make a comeback.”

Indian rifle and pistol team for Paris Olympics: Rifle: Sandeep Singh, Arjun Babuta (10m Air Rifle M), Elavenil Valarivan, Ramita (10m Air Rifle W), Sift Kaur Samra, Anjum Moudgil (50m Rifle 3 Positions W), Aishwary Tomar, Swapnil Kusale (50m Rifle 3 Positions M) Pistol: Sarabjot Singh, Arjun Cheema (10m Air Pistol M), Manu Bhaker, Rhythm Sangwan (10m Air Pistol W), Anish Bhanwal Vijayveer Sidhu (25m RFP M) , Manu Bhaker, Esha Singh (25m Pistol W).

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