Olympic 2020Shooting

Tokyo Olympics: High hopes from India’s strongest-ever shooting squad at Olympics

Tokyo Olympics are just two weeks away. A total of 120 athletes across 18 disciplines will be representing India at the international multi-sport event which will commence from 23rd of July. In this article, we will have a look at the Indian Shooting squad for the Tokyo Games, which is also believed to be India’s strongest squad in the history of Olympics.

Shooting is the only individual sport where India has won an Olympic gold, with the other 8 Olympic yellow medals coming in Hockey.

India has produced some top class shooters over the years, which includes the likes of Athens Olympics silver medalist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra, London Olympics medalists Vijay Kumar & Gagan Narang.

After securing 4 medals between 2004-2012 Olympics, Indian shooting suffered a setback as shooters failed to win a single medal at Rio. However, after the Rio debacle, the emergence of new crop of shooters has seen India dominate big events in the sport.

India topped the medal tally for the first time in ISSF Shooting World Cup in 2019 and there are huge expectations from Indian shooting contingent at the Tokyo Games. On that note, here’s a look at the Indian Shooting squad for Tokyo Olympics:

Air Pistol

Saurabh Chaudhary: Saurabh Chaudhary will present India’s challenge in the men’s 10m air pistol event and the mixed team event. 19-year-old from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh has excelled in almost every event he has participated in so far. Saurabh made the sensational beginning of his career at the senior level at the Jakarta Asian Games when he stunned multiple Olympics & World Championships gold medalist Jin Jong-oh of South Korea to win gold in men’s 10m air pistol event. He became Junior World Champion in 2018 and also made a Junior World Record with a score of 246.3 in the final. A couple of months later, he won gold at the Youth Olympics Games.

Saurabh has won a total of 8 gold medals in the ISSF World Cups, which included 2 individual and 5 mixed team event gold medals.

5 ISSF World Cup Gold medals in 10m AP mixed team event for Manu Bhakar & Saurabh Chuadhary

Abhishek Verma: 31-year-old Verma is a late bloomer in the Indian squad full of youngsters. Abhishek made his international debut at the age of 29 and clinched bronze at the Jakarta Asian Games. Abhishek Verma secured a ticket to Tokyo by securing a silver medal at ISSF World Championship 2018. He has won two 2 World Cup golds and an ISSF World Cup final gold as well. Abhishek Verma is current World no.1 in the ISSF men’s 10m air pistol event.

Manu Bhaker: Another 19-year-old sensation, who first came to the limelight during Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. She clinched gold for India in the women’s 10m air pistol event. Manu has won 9 Golds (including 2 in ISSF World Cup finals) in the ISSF World Cup which comprises of 2 individual golds and 7 golds in mixed air pistol team events. She is currently ranked no.2 in women’s 10m air pistol ISSF World Ranking. Manu Bhakar has been preferred over Chinki Yadav, who is ranked no.1 in women’s 25m air pistol, to represent India in women’s 25m air pistol event. Her partnership with Saurabh Chaudhary in the 10m air pistol mixed team is India’s biggest medal chance in the discipline.

Yashaswini Singh Deswal: Yashaswini Singh Deswal, another youngster who has impressed in recent times, will be representing India in the women’s 10m air pistol event in Tokyo. Deswal has won 2 ISSF World Cup golds. She also represented India at the Youth Olympics 2014 where she finished 6th and failed to win a medal but her performance has seen an upswing in the last couple of years. Yashaswini is currently ranked no.1 in the ISSF World Rankings of women’s 10m air pistol event.

Rahi Sarnobat: Asian Games gold medalist Rahi won gold in women’s 25m air pistol event at the recently concluded ISSF Osijek (Croatia) World Cup. 30-year-old from Maharashtra has vast experience of international stages and has represented India at the London Olympics and also in 3 World Championships. In the current air pistol team, she is the only second-time Olympian while the other four pistol shooter will be making their Olympics debut. Indian fans hold high hopes from Commonwealth Games & Asian Games gold medalist Rahi and will be expecting her to continue with her best form.

Air Rifle

Deepak Kumar: 33-year-old Indian Air Force Officer Deepak Kumar has been a regular for India in the men’s 10m air rifle competition at the International stage for a while. Though Tokyo Olympics would be the first Olympics for the vastly experienced shooters. Deepak’s biggest achievement came in Jakarta Asian Games where he bagged a silver medal.

Divyansh Singh Panwar: Divyansh is the youngest shooter in the Indian squad. The 18-year-old boy from Jaipur, Rajasthan has won 4 golds in 10m air rifle events at ISSF World Cups, which includes 1 individual Gold in the individual event and 3 in the mixed team event.

Sanjeev Rajput: 40-year-old Sanjeev is participating in his 3rd Olympics. Jakarta Asian Games silver medalist has won multiple golds in ISSF World Cups and also bagged gold at 2018 Commonwealth Games in men’s 50m 3position rifle event.

Aishwarya Pratap Tomar: New Delhi ISSF World Cup 2021 hold medalist in 50m 3 position is one of India’s youngest members of the shooting squad.

The Madhya Pradesh lad won gold at the 2019 ISSF Shooting Junior World Cup at Suhl. In the 50 metre rifle three positions, Tomar finished with a score of 459.3 and also set a new junior world record.

Tomar won a bronze medal in 50-metre rifle three positions at the 2019 Asian Shooting Championships in Doha, thus securing India’s second Tokyo Summer Olympics quota place in the event.

Apurvi Chandela: Glasgow Commonwealth Games gold medalist has also won 3 ISSF World Cup golds in 10m air rifle events, 2 of them have come in individual category while 1 came in the mixed team event. Apurvi once also held the world record in the women’s 10m air rifle event when he finished with a score of 252.9 to win gold at ISSF New Delhi World Cup.

Elavenil Valarivan: 21-year-old Elavenil is currently ranked no.1 in women’s 10m air rifle. She won her first ISSF World Cup gold at Rio in 2019. She also clinched the ISSF World Cup finals gold in the same year and then clinched gold at the 2019 Asian Airgun Championship.

Anjum Moudgil: ISSF World Championship silver medalist in women’s 10m air rifle event will represent India in women’s 50m 3 position event at Tokyo. Although she hasn’t won any medal at any major events in the event, she does have tasted some success on the international stage. Moudgil won 2 mixed team golds at ISSF World Cups in 10m air rifle by pairing with young Divyansh Panwar. She will partner Deepak Kumar in the mixed team event at Tokyo Olympics.

Tejaswini Sawant: Veteran shooter will be representative of India alongside Anjum Moudgil in the women’s 50m 3 position event. Tejaswini is Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist in 50m 3 position. She has also won gold at ISSF World Championship in the 50m prone, an event that has been excluded from the Olympics now. 40-year-old won her only ISSF World Cup medal in the 50m 3 position in 2009. She will be looking to leave a mark on her first appearance in the mega event.


Angad Vir Singh Bajwa: 2019 Asian Skeet Championships gold medalist will fancy his chances of a finish on the podium. 25-year-old also holds the World Record of hitting a perfect 60 in the final round.

Mairaj Ahmad Khan: Mairaj is India’s oldest representative at Tokyo Olympics. 45-year-old from Bulandshahar had also participated at the Rio Olympics, where he narrowly missed out on making it to the final, finishing 9th in the qualification round. His best performance of his career so far has been a silver medal at the 2016 Rio World Cup.

Expectations: India’s pistol shooters are as good as anyone in the world. Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma in 10m air pistol are India’s biggest hopes as both of them are capable of winning medals. Air pistol mixed teams of Saurabh-Manu and Abhishek-Yashaswini are also capable of doing wonders in Tokyo. India’s air rifle team can also bring some smiles to Indian fans’ faces. But no matter how good you are, it all boils down to handling pressure and performance on the given day. Still, Indian shooters should be winning at least 3 to 4 medals, given their performance in recent times.


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