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Men’s 10m air pistol and women’s 10m air rifle shooters take early aim at medals
Shooters in the women’s 10m air rifle and men’s 10m air pistol events will take aim at medals early on Saturday morning. The women’s 10m air rifle event at the Tokyo Games will not have any medallist from the Rio Games. In fact, barring Beijing bronze medallist Snjezana Pejcic of Croatia, India’s Apurvi Chandela and a couple of more, most of the other shooters will be making their Games debut.
On the other hand, the men’s 10m air pistol event, which will have India’s Saurabh Chaudhary and Abhishek Verma as favourites, will not just have the gold, silver and bronze medallists from Rio, but also from previous editions. The competition in both the events will be equally intense. The 36 participants from 29 countries in the men’s 10m air pistol event include defending champion Vinh Xuan Hoang of Vietnam, silver medallist Wu Almeida of Brazil and bronze winner Wei Chang of China.
However, Saurabh and Abhishek won’t fret over Hoang and Wu’s presence as they have tougher challengers in Pang, Korean legend Jin Jong-oh, Iran’s Javad Foroughi and Ukraine’s Oleh Omelchuk. Germany’s Christian Reitz, a gold medallist in the 25m rapid fire event at Rio, also cannot be ignored.
“The field is loaded in the men’s pistol event and there is no room for error. With the kind of shooters that we have, I think it is going to be a high-scoring qualification and final round. Anything below 584 will be difficult to make the cut for the final. But our shooters have been shooting well in the training here and we can only expect their best on Saturday,” pistol coach Ronak Pandit told TOI.
Apurvi and Elavenil Valarivan will take guard at 5 am IST on Saturday. With no pressure of dealing with a defending champion, it will be a good opportunity for both. Most of the challengers for the Indians come from Europe and specialize in 50m rifle 3 position events. Coach Suma Shirur said, “The 10m air rifle event is getting younger. There are fewer Olympians. But they all are still very good shooters.”



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