Posted by: conservativecritic | July 27, 2012


We have hundreds of regular blog readers in India – it seemed appropriate for those who cannot attend the London Olympics to provide an update on one of several Olympic skills that the country of India possesses – field shooting…

The depth in Indian shooting will be tested to the core as 11 marksmen gun for glory as action begins at the Royal Artillery Range on Saturday.

In the good old days of Indian shooting, it was a sport for the maharajas and none other than Dr Karni Singh represented the nation at the Olympics.

However, once pistol prodigy Jaspal Rana exploded on the scene in 1994 as junior world champion, there has been no looking back.

Agreed, for all his exploits, Rana never could garner Olympic glory as the choice of his events never made him a contender.

Once Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore shot silver in Athens and Abhinav Bindra wrote history in Beijing by winning gold, there is more self belief.

Bindra left his air rifle in the attic for almost two years after the Olympic feat and has now reloaded in true style.

With streaks of grey hair now, the 29-year-old has cranked himself up once again the way only he can as he will rub shoulders with Gagan Narang and the Chinese robots at the range.

The shooting action from the Indian point of view will begin with Armyman Vijay Kumar on view in the slow fire 10 metre air pistol on Saturday. As an established rapid fire shooter, this is not his pet event, though.

The real action is on Monday when Bindra and Gagan Narang square off in the air rifle event. This is a rivalry which has been downplayed by both shooters but anyone who has seen them will vouch they love the pressure.

“I cannot cling on to the Beijing medal. I start afresh with nothing to show now,” said Bindra.

Narang has lived in the shadows of Bindra for too long and has the experience of a competing in a third Olympics to back himself for a medal this time.

Winning a medal and losing it is all between the ears, and Narang needs to keep his cool as he competes in three events overall.

The other big chances will be in the trap and double trap. Ronjan Sodhi is on a hot streak and will be looking for revenge.

To be sure, he deserved to go to the Beijing Olympics instead of Rathore but missed the bus. Now that the NRAI has chalked out a clear selection policy, Sodhi made the cut with authority.

The way he shot gold in the Guangzhou Asian Games is still fresh in memory and he needs to shoot in his natural aggressive style.

As for former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, he is shooting in his third straight Olympics. He has the experience and has trained very hard in Italy.

The rest of the Indian shooters also do have talent with Joydeep Karmakar unpredictable in the prone event.

If there is a worry, it’s about how the Indians have not been in peak form in World Cups in 2012. Shooting in the Olympics is so very different and Bindra will vouch for it.

In women’s trap, for the first time an Indian is in the starting list. Shagun Choudhary know the field is small and she must grab the chance.

For those of us who grew up with a small bore rifle in their hands…and with virtually unlimited range of targets in the open plains of North Dakota, it is good to see youngsters who can manage the stress of competition and concentration such as those in India have demonstrated…


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