Top guns off the mark at shooting trials, but coach Shirur not worried

The high-performance coach of the Indian rifle team, Suma Shirur believes the shooters will be ready for the first ISSF World Cup of the year in March.

By Naveen Peter ·

The national shooting trials at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi that concluded on Tuesday threw up some upset results.  

C Kavi Rakshna, who is yet to compete at a senior level, beat world No. 1 Elavenil Valarivan, Anjum Moudgil (ranked fourth) and Apurvi Chandela (ranked seventh) in 10m Air Rifle.

In another case, the 77th-ranked Tejaswini Sawant got the better of Anjum Moudgil, placed 26th in the world rankings, in the women’s 50m Rifle 3 Position event.

But the Indian shooting team coach Suma Shirur is not reading much into these unexpected results.

“It was a little bit of a surprise. Not because of the winners but because of the others not being able to perform at their best. It’s a little bit of a worry. But it’s the first competition. The next trials will give us a clearer picture of how ready each shooter is,” Suma told the Olympic Channel.

Suma Shirur reckons that some of the shooters, who have been deprived of competition since the trials in early 2020, are just rusty. But she believes they will get into a rhythm in time for the season’s first ISSF World Cup in March.

“Especially the ones who are at a higher level or a good ranking, these are the shooters who thrive in competition,” Suma explained.

“Since our competitions are very intense and we have many events, they have learnt to live in a competitive arena.

“But suddenly when there’s nothing going on (due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown), everything goes down. They then no longer become emotionally charged and it takes a while until they handle this better. 

The trails have been good in this respect. It’s this motivation that will push them to train on a regular basis. If not for this year, then next year when we have major competitions like the World Championships, Asian Games and so on. We can’t slack.”

Though the ISSF World Cup will not impact the composition of the Olympic squad, Suma says the competition will help measure how prepared India's Tokyo-bound shooters are.

“It (ISSF World Cup) will definitely show the form of all the athletes. It would be a good reflection. The team is pretty much decided. Unless there’s anyone too off the mark otherwise it’s not a criterion," said Suma.