Will Olympian Shagun Chowdhary find a place in the Indian shotgun team for the first World Cup to be staged in Acapulco, Mexico, from March 17?

That will be the point of interest as Shagun, who has been placed fourth in the list on the basis of averages, after taking into consideration the scores from the last National championship and two selection trials.

Shagun had shot 53 in the National championship and missed out on the final following a shoot-off.

Varsha Varman, who has topped the juniors list, figures third among the women, half a point ahead of Shagun and below Shreyasi Singh and Seema Tomar. While the first three will be automatic choices, NRAI had mentioned in its selection policy that there would be a “positive discrimination” towards the junior shooters for the MQS slots.

Only junior shooters would be selected for the fourth and fifth spots in the team, for which they may have to foot the expenses themselves in case the government refuses to fund the MQS shooters.

The policy also clearly stated that the two juniors would be “over and above” the junior shooter who, on merit, makes the senior team.

By that ruling, with Varsha Varman making the team on merit, Malika Wig (55.25) and Mahima Kumar (50) could make the team as juniors for MQS. However, the selectors may consider Shagun as a special case. The other leading shooters have been able to assert themselves and stay in the top three positions to ensure their selections for the first World Cup, with the entry deadline on February 13.

Asian champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu, who shot 121 in the second selection trial which was specially arranged for him after he had reported sick earlier, topped the trap list with an average of 119.0, and was followed by Mansher Singh (117.75) and Zoravar Sandhu (116.25).

Kynan Chenai and Anirudh Singh took the fourth and fifth places with identical averages of 115.75, but may be overtaken for the MQS slots, by the juniors G.S. Sharan (112) and Manavaditya Singh Rathore (100.25).

In double trap, Olympic silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore topped with an average of 143.5 after three merit points were added to his average for equalling the World record last year. He was followed by Asian Games gold medallist Ronjan Sodhi with an average of 143, after the inclusion of four merit points for his silver in the World Cup final and a world rank of No.7.

Mohd. Asab was the third member, and the fifth-placed Shayan Masood would qualify for topping the junior list with an average of 138.25. The fourth-placed Ankur Mittal, with an average of 138.75, may feel the pinch if junior Syed Ali Bin Hadi (119) made the cut as per the policy to back the juniors.

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