On a day when the old guards fell by the wayside, young Indian shooter Kynan Chenai stole the limelight by securing a quota place for the Rio Olympics in Men’s Trap on the second day of the Asian Shooting Qualifiers here on Thursday.
Chenai clinched could hardly have asked for any better gift on the eve of his 25th birthday as he won India their 10th quota place after finishing fourth in his event with a total of 120 points at the Karni Singh Range.
The Hyderabad lad warded off a strong challenge from his teammate Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Kazakhstan’s Maxim Kolomoyets and Andrey Mogilevskiy to bring some cheer on the faces of home fans after a rather disappointing day for Indian shooters.
Chenai, however, missed out on a bronze medal after he lost to Kuwait’s Talal Al Rashidi (here as an International Shooting participant) in the shoot-out by a single shot that ensued after both the shooters fail to make the final round. In the 15-round shootout, Chenai missed the clay target on the sixth and 14th shot, while Al Rashidi failed to hit the target on the 12th shot.
Chenai had already booked the quota place by the time the semifinal started, which featured only the top-four shooters in the 42-strong field. The Trap event offered four quota places which was taken up by Chenai, Al Rashidi, Kuwait’s Abdulrahman Al Faihan (gold) and Chinese Taipei’s Kun-Pi Yang (silver).
Sandhu finished a disappointing ninth with 118 points and couldn’t even qualify for the semifinals.
Chenai had shot a score of 47 out of 50 on Thursday and he shot 73 out of 75 to accumulate 120 points, which was enough to win a quota place. But, Chenai’s quota has not guaranteed him a berth at the Rio Games as he has to face a selection trial in Patiala from February 7-16 to decide who will represent the country in the Men’s Trap at Rio. Sandhu, who is India’s No. 1 men’s trap shooter, is ahead of Chenai in terms of rankings.
Chenai, however, would be in an advantageous position as his Olympic quota would boost his ranking as he is set to earn crucial points.
“I have done my job. Now it’s up to NRAI to decide who will travel to the Rio. I know about the selection trials and this performance would definitely boost my confidence,” Chenai said.
Chenai, who drew inspiration for shooting from his father, Darius – himself a national champion in trap event in 2008 and 2015 – said training in Italy in the second half of 2015 and making slight changes in his shooting style helped him to become a better shooter.
“In the first half of the year, I missed out on two World Cups after failing to make the Indian team. Then, I headed to Italy to fine tune my game as I was looking for this Olympic quota. The stint actually helped me as I returned a better shooter. What I have achieved today is the biggest day of my career. I can now proudly tell my father that your son has secured an Olympic quota which you failed to earn during your playing days,” he said.
Talking about Thursday’s performance, Chenai, who belongs to a prominent and reputed Parsi family of Hyderabad, said he followed one simple advice of his father. “Stay relaxed and just shut the pressure out. Don’t overburden yourself with expectations. It worked wonders.”