Bhopal: Some of the top marksmen from across the world, including Olympic medallists and world champions, will headline a field of 198 shooters, who will compete at the ISSF World Cup Rifle/Pistol to be held here from March 20-27.
India and China have entered the largest contingents of 37 shooters each, while some of the leading countries whose athletes are expected to do well here are Denmark, Switzerland, USA, Korea, France and Germany.
Several contingents from the 30-odd countries competing here have arrived and the rest are expected to reach Monday. The competitions will begin March 22.
The World Cup here will see a total of 10 finals — all Olympic events — over five competition days. The medals in the men’s and women’s 10m air pistol events will be decided on the first day of competition (March 22).
China’s Liu Jinyao and Lu Kaiman are the reigning men’s and women’s world champions in the category and both have arrived in Bhopal.
Besides the two, China has sent a squad consisting mainly of young shooters. Talented 19-year-old men’s rifle shooter Du Linshu, who won five gold and two sliver in the junior category at the Cairo World Championships last year, is accompanied by junior women’s rifle shooter Min Hou, who also won two gold in the junior category at the worlds.
Huang Yuting, 16, who is already a reigning senior world champion in the 10m air rifle mixed team event, is also a member of the contingent along with the relatively experienced 18-year-old Lihao Sheng, who won the men’s 10m air rifle silver at the Tokyo Olympics.
Jean Quiquampoix will be the only reigning Olympic champion on show in Bhopal and the men’s 25m rapid-fire pistol ace is leading a five-member French contingent, which also includes Clement Bessaguet, silver medallist at the Cairo worlds last year, and Lamolle Mathilde, who won the women’s 25m pistol event at the Cairo World Cup last month.
USA has sent an eight-member contingent, including reigning women’s air rifle world champion Alison Marie Weisz, who won alongside India’s Rudrankksh Patil (men’s world champion) in Cairo.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist in the air rifle mixed team, Carolyn Mary Tucker, is also here along with her partner Lucas Koziniesky.
One of the all-time pistol shooting greats and Rio Olympics champion in rapid-fire pistol, Christian Reitz, will also be on show. He is leading a 13-member German contingent, which includes Monika Karsch — Rio Olympics silver medallist — and Doreen Vennekamp, who won the 25m pistol women’s gold at the ISSF World Cup Final in Cairo last year.
Switzerland’s Jan Lochbihler, the reigning men’s prone world champion, will also be competing in here.
The newly-elected president of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Luciano Rossi will also be present during the World Cup.