Cairo, Feb 23: A 13-member Indian squad will seek medals in the Shotgun World Cup starting here on Wednesday as the the International Shooting Sport Federation's marquee events return after a break of almost a year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The eight-day competition is the year's first Shotgun World Cup stage, beginning with men's and women's skeet competitions on the opening day.
There will be 10 events in the competition.
As many as 191 athletes from 33 countries have entered the fray and for the first time, the men's and women's team competitions will be held based on the new team event formats declared last year by the ISSF.
The Cairo World Cup assumes additional significance given that this will be the final chance for the shooters to qualify for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics on the basis of world ranking points.
For example, the current world number one in men's trap, Mauro De Filippis of Italy, still does not have a Tokyo berth and will be looking to hold on to his ranking points with a good show to confirm his quota.
Sharing his thoughts from Cairo, men's skeet finals world record and Tokyo 2020 quota holder Angad Bajwa said, "It's the first competition after more than a year and taking it like match practice before the Olympics. It's much needed to get back into the rhythm."
Mansher Singh, chief coach of the Indian shotgun squad, said, "This is the first World Cup of the year and assumes importance after the lockdown because it should give us a good start to the calendar.
"Being the first experience for lot of young shooters, I think it is important for them to learn from this event, and those who are going to the Olympics will also get very good training prior to commencing their final preparations for Tokyo.
"The training in Cairo is going very well. The conditions are good for shooting, the ranges are tough, so we expect the scores to be not very high."
The Indian men's skeet squad has Angad along with his senior Mairaj Ahmad Khan, also a Tokyo 2020 quota winner and competing on Wednesday. Gurjoat Khangura completes the three-man squad.
The women's skeet squad features Ganemat Shekhon, Parinaaz Dhaliwal and Karttiki Singh Shaktawat.
The first final will be in women's skeet and is scheduled for Thursday, which will be followed by the men's skeet final on the same day.
The ISSF has announced that the 10 finals will be broadcast live on their social media streams. The signal will also be distributed through the European Broadcasting Union. - PTI