The national shooting teams leave the country next week for their Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics qualifying tournaments.
A team of seven firers; six men and one woman leave on Wednesday, March 17 for the World Championships that will double up as the Olympic qualifier due March 18 to 28 in Delhi, India.
The team has former Africa champion Gulraaj Sehmi, Sanford Otundo and Priscilla Wangui, who will compete in 10m Air Rifle, and Maurice Morara and David Kirui, who will battle in 10m Air Pistol.
Dhruv Shah and Jaspal Matharu will compete in Skeet Shotgun at the Delhi event.
Kenya Sport Shooting Federation (KSSF) President Shoaib Vayani named Gurupreet Singh Dhanjal as the team coach, while Philip Ndolo is the team manager.
Kenya is eager to take firers to the Olympics for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, where Anuj Desai was the country’s sole representative.
Para shooter Bhaveet Chundasama leaves on Monday next week for the World Shooting Para Sport World Cup due March 15 to 26 in Dubai.
Chundasama, who is handled by Idris Kasmani, will field in 10m Air Pistol, 25m Rapid Fire and 50m Pistol at the Dubai event, where he will be aiming to make history as the first Kenyan shooter to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics.
KSSF Wednesdau hosted the team for breakfast at the Sailing Club, Nairobi where they received the national flag from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) ahead of departure.
NOC-K second deputy president, Waithaka Kioni, who was accompanied by secretary general, Francis Mutuku and women representative Paurvi Rawal, handed over the flag.
“Go out and conquer,” Kioni told the team.
“We believe and have faith that you can do it. We want to see you back at the Olympic Games.”
Kioni said that they will endeavour to support minor sports in every facet since they believe they are capable of securing medals for Kenya at the Olympics away from athletics.
“I am delighted to note that the team also has a female firer, which is encouraging…we need to have more,” said Kioni, who is also the chef de mission for Team Kenya for the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“I am doing fairly well considering that I am barely a year old in competitive Air rifle,” said Wangui, the only lady in the team for the India event.
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It won’t be the first time Wangui is representing Kenya, having taken part at the African championships in 2019, where she attained her first minimum qualifying score (MQS) of 590 points.
“The best is yet to come,” said a confident Wangui, adding that she not only wants to make it to Tokyo, but also win a medal.
At the same time, a team of five firers who will compete at the Bollard Shooting Championships due March 26-27 in South Africa, also received the national flag.
Tony Karanja, Mwangi Gikonyo, Peter Njoroge, Sammy Onyango and Ibrahim Ndugu will be using the event to prepare for the national trials for the World IPSC Championships due November in the United Kingdom.
Team for World Shooting Championships cum Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers
10m Air Rifle:- Gulraaj Singh Sehmi, Sanford Otundo, Priscilla Wangui
10m Air Pistol:- Maurice Morara, David Kirui
Skeet Shotgun :- Dhruv Shah, Jaspal Matharu
Team Coach: – Gurupreet Singh Dhanjal
Team Manager: – Philip Ndolo
Team for World Shooting Para World Cup
Bhaveet Chundasama (shooter)
Idris Kasmani (Coach)