What can India expect at the ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro?

With Olympic quota places up for grabs, the Indian contingent is aiming to add to their numbers at Tokyo 2020 in Brazil

By Saurabh Shankar ·

After a largely forgettable showing at the ISSF World Cup Shotgun in Lahti, Finland, India turns its attentions to Rio de Janeiro for the final round of the 2018 World Cup Rifle/Pistol regular season.

Seven shooters have already secured quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with a maximum of nine additional spots available in Rio.

There are two places up for grabs in each category with the likes of Tejaswini Sawant and Sanjeev Rajput hoping to bring their best to the competition.

The World Cup is also a great opportunity for Tokyo 2020 medal hopes like Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary to continue their fine form and build confidence as the Summer Olympics approaches.

India’s hopes

Competing in the 50m rifle three positions event, Tejaswini is one of the nation's best prospects in Rio.

Now 38, the three-time Commonwealth Games champion needs to rediscover her form with India failing the secure any quota places in the event so far.

Something close to her Commonwealth Games record of 457.9 set last year on the Gold Coast would give her a great chance of making the final and seizing a place for India in Tokyo.

Tejaswini Sawant celebrates after winning gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

Similarly, no Indian has qualified for the men's equivalent but Sanjeev Rajput will be hoping to put that right.

The 38-year-old won gold for India at last year's Commonwealth Games and is also a four-time winner at the Commonwealth Championships.

Sanjeev Rajput celebrates after winning 50m air rifle three positions gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games

He was down in 25th position at the World Cup held in New Delhi earlier this year and needs to improve markedly in Brazil to make the cut for Tokyo 2020.

As well as Rajput, Rio 2016 Olympian Chain Singh is eyeing a podium finish in the 50m air rifle three positions as he bids to make a second Games.

The 30-year-old, a five-time South Asian Games gold champion and 2014 Asian Games individual bronze medallist, has struggled of late in World Cups including a disappointing 27th in Beijing earlier this year.

Swapnil Kusale completes the Indian trio in the event with teenage pistol marksman Gaurav Rana and women's 25m pistol shooter Chinki Yadav also among those with high hopes.

The best on show

Some of India's best shooters will be competing in Rio including Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary.

Manu Bhaker has already secured a quota place for India at Tokyo 2020

Bhaker won a quota place in the 10m air pistol by taking third place in Munich, but she faces a battle to be the top Indian in the field with 14-year-old sensation Esha Singh lining up against her.

When she was just 13, Esha beat Bhaker to win the national title last November.

She claimed silver at July's Junior World Cup in Suhl, Germany and will be hoping to clinch a second quota place for India in the event.

Meanwhile, Bhaker will be hoping to secure a place in November's World Cup Final in Putian, China.

She is currently seventh in the standings with the top eight making the cut.

Anjum Moudgil is just outside the top eight in the 50m rifle three positions while Rahi Sarnobat is third in the 25m pistol and should be safely into the World Cup Final regardless of what she does in Rio.