Skeet shooters Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan came storming through for India’s shotgun squad by securing qualification for the Tokyo Olympics, after a sensational show in the Asian Shooting Championship in Doha in November 2019.
Bajwa won gold in the Men’s skeet event while Khan grabbed the silver. Their medals meant that India had an unprecedented 15 quota places in shooting for the Olympics next year.
Fellow skeet shooter Sheeraz Sheikh.feels Bajwa and Khan are capable of doing justice to the expectations that will invariably be thrust upon them during the Olympics.
Sheikh, a member of the National Rifle Association of India’s (NRAI) core Olympic group, states that the duo of Bajwa and Khan are leaving no stones unturned in a bid to leave their mark on the marquee event.
NRAI’s core Olympic group contains only four skeet shooters - Bajwa, Khan, Sheikh and Gurjot Singh.
Sheikh trained at the Dr Karni Singh Range in New Delhi a few days back after being tested negative for Covid-19 and has a positive outlook on the Indian contingent's performance in Tokyo.
He has trained with Bajwa and Khan for the last five years and knows them closely. Sheikh termed them 'fighters' and believes the duo will put their best foot forward for the Tokyo Olympics.
"Angad (Bajwa) and Mairaj (Khan) are fighters. And both of them are very focused right now, they are training a lot, they are not going to leave any stone unturned in their preparations for the Olympics." - Sheeraz Sheikh to the Olympic Channel.
Sheikh explained that Bajwa and Khan are proven performers and have a good chance of winning a medal. Incidentally, Bajwa holds the world record in Men’s skeet finals with a score of 60 out of 60 which won him the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Shotgun Championship in Kuwait City.
"We are shooting together right now in the ongoing camp. Also, they both shoot very strong in the finals. Angad is a world record holder with 60/60 in the finals. I think the skeet team has a very fair chance in the Olympics of winning a medal. Even last time, we reached the shoot-off for the finals," he added.
The 25-year-old Bajwa will be the top-ranked skeet shooter to represent the country at Tokyo Olympics and will have a lot of hopes pinned on him.
With Khan, comes experience. The 45-year-old veteran was the first Indian to qualify for Olympics in this discipline. He finished ninth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and will be looking to improve on his performance this time around.