Why Angad Bajwa, Mairaj Khan skipped the national shooting trials

The national selection trials for the two upcoming ISSF World Cups in Cairo and New Delhi began at the Dr Karni Singh Range from Tuesday.

By Utathya Nag ·

India’s champion skeet shooters Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan opted to sit out of the national selection trials in favour of continuing their personal training with an eye on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The trials got underway at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in Tughlakabad, Delhi, on Tuesday and will be used to select the Indian teams for the two upcoming ISSF World Cups.

The first, a shotgun World Cup, will be held in Cairo from February 22 to March 5. The second World Cup in New Delhi from March 18 to 29 will be a combined event for rifle, pistol and shotgun shooters.

“Both our places are confirmed in the team. So, we decided to continue with our training,” Bajwa told The Hindu.

Featuring over 200 shooters across 13 disciplines, the trials will run till January 18.

For Bajwa, an Asian Championships 2019 gold medallist, and Mairaj, who won silver at the same event, participation in the trials wasn’t compulsory for their spots in the team. The trials, however, would have been a good opportunity for them to taste some competitive action after a long COVID-enforced lull.

Angad Bajwa, though, backed the decision to skip the trials but noted that both he and Mairaj Khan were looking forward to training stints abroad to prepare for Tokyo.

“I hope we get the chance to travel abroad for training as that will be very crucial in our build up to the Tokyo Olympics. We need to get used to training on different ranges and conditions. Delhi is our home range and not much of a challenge,” Bajwa stated.

Angad Bajwa and Mairaj Khan, in fact, trained together for a month at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range post the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

“It was a nice change from training alone. A long camp gets taxing, but I kept busy by visiting the gym. Training with Mairaj pushes me to my limits,” Bajwa said.

The two shotgun specialists also won India two quota places for shotgun events at the Tokyo Olympics, courtesy their showings at the 2019 Asian Championships and are India’s core group of shooters expected to travel to Japan.

Lead photo: Twitter/ Kiren Rijiju