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Asian Games champion Palak Gulia appeals to be included in Olympics’ 10m air pistol team after finishing last in selection trials | Sport-others News

Days after former world champion Rudrankksh Patil appealed to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) to include him in the Indian shooting team for the Paris Olympics, 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games champion Palak Gulia too has written to the national body to consider her name for the Olympics. Gulia had finished last in the women’s 10m air pistol among the five-shooter selection trials last week with Manu Bhaker and Rhythm Sangwan taking the top two spots on the basis of final average scores.

“I have written to NRAI to consider my name for the Indian shooting team for the Paris Olympics. Yes, I agree that I could not give my best in the four trials. With all due respect to the shooters in my discipline, I am of the view that I am one of the top shooters in the country to get International results in the 10m air pistol event in the last two years. Hence I have appealed to NRAI to consider my name,” said Palak while speaking with The Indian Express.

“My qualification scores of 585, which I hit twice in national trials for rankings (earlier this year) have not been achieved by any Indian women shooter in 10m air pistol in the last three years and made me second ranked shooter in national rankings. I reached India after winning the Olympic quota on April 16 and the trials started on April 17 with my event on April 23. I had written earlier on April 3 to NRAI to postpone the trials as I needed some recovery time, and pre-match preparation to be at par with other shooters,” said Gulia.

The Haryana teenager, whose father Joginder Singh Gulia runs a construction business in Faridabad, had burst on the international shooting scene by becoming the women’s 10m air pistol champion in the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games. At Hangzhou, Palak had finished seventh in qualification before she made a new Asian games record of 242.1 to become the first ever Indian women shooter to become the Asian games champion.

While seven Paris Olympics quota holders did not make the cut to the final top two in the OST, Gulia counts her unlucky with the trials timing. “If the trials are done again, a different team would be selected,” Gulia stated in the email.

Festive offer

Post the Asian Games, Palak had won the national Games title in the National Games. Earlier this year, Gulia had twice shot qualification scores of 585 in the national shooting trials conducted by NRAI in February and March for the national rankings. The Haryana youngster had also secured the second Paris Olympics quota for India in women’s 10m air pistol with a bronze medal finish in the ISSF Olympic qualification tournament in Brazil days before the first Olympic selection trials in Delhi last month.

But at the Olympic Selection Trials (OST), Gulia had a disastrous start with a qualification score of 572 before she finished third in the final in the first trial behind Rhythm Sangwan and Bhaker. Her scores in the next three trials were 576, 576 and 573 with one second-place finish resulting in her final average score of 575.43. Bhaker and Sangwan topped the OST with final average scores of 579.53 and 578.53. The other quota holder, Esha Singh finished fourth with a final average score of 576.50.

Manu Bhaker though remains the only shooter, who if named in the Paris Olympics team, will compete in two events 25m sports pistol and 10m air pistol having topped the OST in both the disciplines. In 2021, NRAI had swapped the quota won by Chinki Yadav in 25m sports pistol with a quota place for Anjum Moudgil in women’s 50m 3P event with Bhaker competing in both 10m air pistol and 25m sports pistol events.

With the selection committee set to announce the team next week, NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia said the national body has got Gulia’s email and will send it to the selection committee. “Yes, we have got the email from Palak Gulia. We have forwarded it to the selection committee and it’s up to them to decide.”

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