Indian shooters at a venue after the Olympic postponement

PUNE: There can never be a perfect formula for choosing a winning team. It becomes even more difficult for him Olympic Games .

the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), however, was close to finalizing the best possible team for the Tokyo Games two weeks back. But before the selected names could be rubber-stamped, the Tokyo Games were postponed for a year.

Shooting has been India's best medal bet over the last four Olympic Games . the last year was exceptional for Indian shooters , with three shooters ending as number 1 in the world. India also impressed by winning 15 places for Tokyo, the best so far. With 21 gold, six silver and three bronze, India had finished as the No. 1 shooting nation in the ISSF ranking last year.

For most of the quota holders in other Olympic sports, the postponement means one more year of training. For shooters , who earn the quota place for the country and not for themselves, it is 365 more days of uncertainty, insecurity and may be, over-training.

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the NRAI will have a task at hand. They have to select an ideal team for the 2021 Games without compromising on shooters ' well-being.

the federation could be left with two choices: either to go ahead and announce the team based on the trials conducted over the past 15 month, or keep conducting trials for one more year and wait to find the best shooters just ahead of the Games.

the NRAI is yet to share their plan with the shooters . Repeated attempts to get the federation president's views on the issue went futile.

Whatever choice NRAI makes, it will not be the same.

If they decide to go ahead with the first scenario, that is picking the squad based on the previous trials, they won't have any control if the shooters run out of form before the actual Games.

If they continue to conduct trials for another year, it would mean 27-months of continuous trials and a possible burning out of the shooters .

Apurvi Chandela, who won the quota in 2018, said keeping the shooters on hold by not announcing the team would bring a lot of pressure on them. "I feel if the team is announced now, the shooters can focus on the Olympic Games and train with only positive pressure," Apurvi told TOI.

"I agree that current form is important, and to make sure the selected shooters are in form ahead of the Games, the federation can check shooters ' performance in say, December or January, if they don't find any shooter's performance satisfactory, they can replace him/her with the next in ranking. They will still have time," she added.

Abhishek Verma, quien aseguró la cuota en una pistola de 10 m, también se hizo eco del pensamiento de Apurvi. En the últimos dos años, the titulares de cuotas han ganado medallas en la mayoría de the eventos principales. No hay nada más que puedan probar en el próximo año, dijo Verma.

Former world number 1 and London Games bronze medalist, rifle shooter Gagan narang , while backing Apurvi and Abhishek's views, feels the selected shooters need to be monitored well and a pool of reserve shooters should be kept ready. " the key challenge is to always be able to select the best 'in form' shooter one year from now hoping that he or she will peak at the right moment. We can only hope that the system gives a fair chance to the best shooter to be selected."

He added: "A developmental group with reserve shooters should be formed."

En the últimos 15 meses, the aspirantes a Tokio, ganadores de cuotas y otros, han participado en 10 competiciones (eventos internacionales y pruebas especiales).

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