Jitu Rai, Heena Sidhu in focus ahead of ISSF World Cup Finals shootingOctober 24, 2017
Jitu Rai and Heena Sidhu are favourites to win the 10m air pistol mixed team event of the World Cup Final beginning here at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Ranges from Tuesday.
In the build up, the Indian pair had won the World Cups in February in Delhi and then in Gabala in June.
The International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF), will recognise mixed team events as competitive for the first time and the Indian pistol shooters don’t want to miss out on that.
“We have been doing well as a team and there shouldn’t be a problem repeating our performance,” said Heena Sidhu.
On Monday the duo trained on adjacent firing points to chalk out strategy for the main competition. Rai too has been upbeat. “I have been doing well in training. So any change in format isn’t a big concern for me,” said the Army shooter who is also participating in the individual 10m air pistol and 50m free pistol events.
In the mixed event, top five of the eight teams will make the final after each member has filed 40 shots.
The final will begin with three five-shot series which will be followed by two single shots. The elimination will start after 17 shots.
The Indian pair will face a strong challenge from the Japanese pair of Yukari Konishi and Tomoyuki Matsuda and the Chinese team of Wei Yang and Xiaoxue Cai.
The mixed team events have been included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) plans to have gender equality in sports. Following IOC guidelines, the event was introduced this year by ISSF.
In the 10m air rifle mixed team, India will field Deepak Kumar and Meghana Sajjanar. Besides India other participating teams include Croatia, China, Japan, Romania, Iran and Serbia.
China is the only nation that has two teams in fray. India will not feature in the trap mixed team event, the third competition on the opening day.