New Delhi, Jul 6 (IANS): A strong 49-member Indian Shooting team inclusive of athletes and support staff will embark upon the year's final ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol/Shotgun stage scheduled from July 9-21 in Changwon, Korea, with an eye on the World Championships coming up in September in Croatia and Egypt respectively.
The 10m Rifle and Pistol exponents along with the Trap shooters will be the first of the three batches to arrive in Korea on Thursday.
Wishing the team before their departure, K. Sultan Singh, secretary-general, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), said "The team is well prepared after rigorous training in the National camp conducted before the tournament. This is a very important tournament considering the World Championships are next in line. We wish the team all the very best."
Olympian and reigning Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat will miss out on the Changwon World Cup having pulled out late due to medical reasons. Six national chief coaches will be accompanied by the five newly-appointed foreign coaches including High-Performance Manager Lauryn Mark of Australia as part of the 18-member support staff. It will be the foreign coaches' first tournament assignment with the team.
The team has a lot of new faces but among established international shooters, Mairaj Ahmad Khan, Prithviraj Tondaiman, Sanjeev Rajput, Chain Singh, Anjum Moudgil, Manu Bhaker, Aishwary Tomar, Anish Bhanwala, Elavenil Valarivan, Mehuli Ghosh, Esha Singh and Vivaan Kapoor will be seen in action.
There will be a total of 30 gold medals on offer at Changwon across the Rifle, Pistol and Shotgun disciplines including all 15 Olympic events. This would be'the squad's last opportunity to get world-class international competition before the ISSF World Championships later in the year, known to be the pinnacle of achievement in the sport.
More than 432 athletes from 44 nations will take 926 starts at the Changwon International Shooting range. In the previous combined World Cup stage in Baku, Azerbaijan, India had stood fifth with two gold and three silver medals despite the Pistol team choosing to opt out of the tournament.
India had initially planned to skip the Changwon World Cup but the postponement of the Asian Games in China led to an alteration of plans.