New Delhi: In a massive fillip to Indian shooting, Delhi will host the final Asia Olympic Qualifying Competition where 35 tickets to Rio would be up for grabs from January 25 to February 3.
The high-profile event will be the final opportunity for Asia's top shooting athletes to book their tickets for the Rio Olympics.
The final 35 Rio Olympic quota places for Asian nations will be up for grabs at the event, across the three shooting disciplines of Shotgun, Rifle and Pistol and is slated to be held at the Karni Singh Shooting Range.
National Rifle Association of India President Raninder Singh has received a letter from the executive committee of the International Shooting Federation (ISSF), confirming the selection of NRAI as the organisers of the event.
"This is a huge honour bestowed on the country and our national federation by the ISSF and the IOC and on behalf of the NRAI we express our sincere gratitude, while assuring them that we will do our very best to deliver upon the faith reposed on us," Singh said.
"I must also take this opportunity to thank the Government of India, the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India who have been always helpful and supportive in our endeavors as also in helping us make the winning bid.
I hope also that this will act as a major boost to our talented shooters and spur those who have not booked their berths for Rio yet, even more," he added.
A total of five federations had expressed their interest in hosting the event after the IOC revoked the Olympic qualifying status of the Asian Shooting Championship which was held in Kuwait in October-November.
The ISSF had subsequently invited all Asian member associations for bids.
India, which already has eight Rio Olympic quota places sealed, would be looking to make the most of 'home-advantage' to grab as many quota places as possible to go better than the 11 they had won before the last Olympics in London.
The likes of Heena Sidhu, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Ronjon Sodhi and Vijay Kumar are some of the shooting stars who would be fancying their chances at their home ranges.
The Karni Singh Shooting Range was very recently a host to the 8th Asian Air Gun Competition in September, which saw around 180 athletes from 14 Asian countries participating.
It was also the first time when any shooting event outside the world cups and world championships and Olympic competitions was telecast live on television and received a very positive response.
"This event will obviously be much larger in importance and scale and hence the quality of competition will be several notches higher. India should be looking to put in an excellent show particularly because Shooting has been India's second most successful Olympic sport ever and the most successful of this millennium," Singh said.