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Road to Rio: Manavjit Singh Sandhu is missing only one mark in his record – an Olympic medal

Name: Manavjit Singh Sandhu

Age: 39

Discipline: Shooting

Category: Trap

Qualification: Manavjit Singh Sandhu was selected by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) in its final shooting squad for Rio Olympics due to his consistent scores in the selection trials.

Strength: The biggest advantage Manavjit Singh Sandhu has is his vast experience – he has won medals at all major sporting events except the Olympics and is a former world champion and number one in trap shooting. He can handle pressure and has the skill to beat the best in the world, making him a genuine medal contender.

Past Olympic performance: Manavjit Singh Sandhu has represented India at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Past record (best performances):
Gold medal at the 2006 World Shooting Championships in Zagreb
Gold medal at the 2010 ISSF World Cup in Acapulco
Gold medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur (Team)
Gold at the 2014 ISSF World Cup in Tucson
Silver medal at the 2006 ISSF World Cup in Kerrville
Silver medal at the 2006 World Shooting Championships in Zagreb (Team)
Silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi (Team)
Silver medal at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok (Team)
Silver medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan (Team)
Silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha
Silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha (Team)
Bronze medal at the 2003 ISSF World Cup in New DElhi
Bronze medal at the 2009 ISSF World Cup in Minsk
Bronze medal at the 2015 ISSF World Cup in Acapulco
Bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne
Bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi
Bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Bronze medal at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou (Team)

Rio Prospects: The expectation from Sandhu is very high, and rightly so – his impressive record makes him one of India's strongest medal prospect and he could even bring him another individual gold. If he manages to keep his cool in the competition, and replicate his previous world cup performances, he has a good chance of a podium finish.

 Road to Rio: Manavjit Singh Sandhu is missing only one mark in his record – an Olympic medal

File photo of Manavjit Singh Sandhu. AFP

Manavjit Singh Sandhu is a veteran shooter and a former world number one who has won at every major tournament – except an Olympic medal. He has gold medals at the ISSF World Cup and the Commonwealth Games as well is a World Shooting Champion, and he will be keen to add the all-important Olympic medal to his illustrious trophy cabinet. And with his ability and vast experience, the expectation of a medal is a genuine one.

His road to Rio was contentious, as he did not secure his spot directly. Sandhu got the berth ahead of another veteran, Sanjeev Rajput, as the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) picked him due to his consistent scores in the selection trials. It was Rajput who had earned it in the Asian Shooting Championship. However, as per the selection criteria, Sandhu had a better aggregate scores to make a claim for himself in contingent of 12. This will add another layer of expectation from him.

The former world number one in trap shooting, will be competing in his fourth Olympics, and says the experience gained in all these years will help him in Rio. "Being my fourth Games, I feel I am experienced enough to prepare well and be able to peak at the right time. I am in good form and feel I am well prepared," Sandhu, a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardee, told PTI in an interview.

Sandhu has been in a good run of form at big events in the past two years. He beat Olympic medalist Michael Diamond to the gold medal in the ISSF World Cup two years ago, and won the bronze in March last year in the Mexico World Cup, which is sure to confidence as he heads to Rio.

The first Indian shooter to be crowned world champion, the 39-year-old will also be under a lot of pressure to perform at what could be his final Olympic appearance. But he sees this pressure as added motivation. "Pressure is part and parcel of the Games and the responsibility of being a member of the Indian shooting squad adds a degree of motivation,” he had said.

As one the best trap shooters in the world, there will be massive expectations from Sandhu. It already is a surprise that he doesn’t have an Olympic medal, but with his vast experience, he will a player to watch out for. If he can repeat his performance from the 2014 World Cup, India could have another shooting medal at the Olympics.

With inputs  from agencies 

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Updated Date: Jul 30, 2016 15:27:56 IST