15-year-old Sha­p­ath qual­i­fies for WC Fi­nals

The Free Press Journal - - SPORTS -

In­dian teenager Sha­p­ath Bhardawaj has now qual­i­fied for the pres­ti­gious ISSF World Cup Fi­nals for shoot­ing. Hav­ing be­come the coun­try's youngest ath­lete to fig­ure in the gov­ern­ment's Tar­get Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme, the 15- year-old, who clinched an in­di­vid­ual bronze medal in the Ju­nior World Cup in Italy last month, will com­pete in men's dou­ble trap along­side Ankur Mit­tal and San­gram Dahiya.

Cham­pion pis­tol shooter Jitu Rai, Ravi Ku­mar (10m air ri­fle), Pooja Ghatkar (10m air ri­fle), Aman­preet Singh ((50m pis­tol), Meghana Sa­j­ja­nar and Deepak Ku­mar (10m mixed air ri­fle), Rai and Heena Sidhu (10m air pis­tol mixed) will be seen in ac­tion dur­ing the World Cup Fi­nals.

Rai will be com­pet­ing in three events - 10m air pis­tol and 50m pis­tol - be­sides mixed team. The play­ers qual­i­fied for the tour­na­ment based on their per­for­mances in a se­ries of three World Cups held in In­dia, Mex­ico and Cyprus re­spec­tively.

Be­sides his ju­nior bronze in Lonato, Sha­p­ath has won the team gold medal at the Shot­gun World Cup in Moscow re­cently. The Meerut-based Bhard­waj, a stu­dent of class 10, is among 45 elite ath­letes, in­clud­ing Olympic medal­lists PV Sindhu, Sak­shi Ma­lik and Saina Ne­hwal, to be se­lected for the TOP scheme.

Bhard­waj at­tracted the at­ten­tion of the shoot­ing fra­ter­nity when he was se­lected for In­dias dou­ble trap team at the age of 14 af­ter se­lec­tion trails in Pa­tiala in Novem­ber last year.

He rep­re­sented In­dia along with his se­nior team­mates Ankur Mit­tal and San­gram Dahya in the ISSF World Cup, Delhi in Fe­bru­ary and then at the ISSF World Cup in Mex­ico in April where he se­cured 10th and 12th ranks re­spec­tively. He then se­cured the fourth po­si­tion in qual­i­fy­ing round of the ISSF World Cup in Cyprus in May and topped the 22 shot shootoff to en­ter the fi­nal where he fin­ished sixth.

Bhard­waj par­tic­i­pated in the ninth In­ter­na­tional Ju­nior Shot­gun Cup held in Fin­land in July and scored 137 out of 150 as In­dia won the gold. He ended up win­ning the in­di­vid­ual as well as team gold in the In­ter­na­tional Ju­nior Grand Prix in Italy last year.

The World Cup Fi­nals, the most pres­ti­gious an­nual tour­na­ment of the In­ter­na­tional Shoot­ing Sport Fed­er­a­tion, will be held at the Dr Karni Singh Shoot­ing Range next month

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