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Shooters to begin medal hunt from Saturday

LONDON: High on confidence, Indian shooters will begin their Olympic campaign at the Royal Artillery Barracks on Saturday amid expectation that the marksmen would be able to deliver the goods and fetch a few medals.

Shooters to begin medal hunt from Saturday

Though records and current form have raised hopes of a good number of medals from the shooting arena, it is still a tough ask for the Indians to ensure that their medal quest bears fruit.The spotlight would largely be on Beijing Games gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, Ronjan Sodhi and Gagan Narang, all of whom are being touted as serious medal contenders though the other shooters are also quite talented and can pull off a surprise or two on their day.For the first time ever, India has fielded 11 shooters unlike the eight participants in the Beijing Games, which only reflects the improved show by the marksmen in recent years.The huge hype surrounding the shooters will also put more pressure on the likes of Sodhi, Bindra and Narang as they are well aware that there is no room for errors at this stage.While Bindra trained in Germany and appears to have regained his form, Narang is also in his zone after having performed consistently in recent times under coach Stanislav Lapidus.Narang will be seen in action in three events in London — 10m Air rifle is his main event where he will challenge Bindra and China’s Zhu Qinan.For the 33-year-old Sodhi, this is the best chance for him to achieve Olympic glory. Defending champion Walton Eller has failed to qualify for the Games but USA has exchanged a quota to accommodate him. Another American world number 1 and world champion Joshua Richmond would also pose a major challenge to Sodhi.Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won silver in Athens and Sodhi, the only Indian in the top-ten ranking on 10th, will be at least hoping to repeat that feat if not improve upon it.PTI

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