China's shooting chief confident of Olympics despite India's rise

Putian (China), Nov 22

China won two golds, one silver and one bronze medal in individual competitions at the 2019 ISSF World Cup final here as the country's shooting chief Li Jingsong claimed on Friday that he is confident of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics despite a tough challenge from an emerging India.

The Indian side took three golds in the eight individual disciplines of the world major shooting event, namely the women's 10m pistol, men's and women's 10m air rifle. All three champions are under 20 years of age.

In addition, the 10m air pistol and 10m air rifle mixed team competitions on Friday, where athletes from different countries were randomly partnering with each other, also witnessed two Indian shooters top the podium with consistent performances.

"We learned from the Chinese team. We are neighbours, both have a large population. If China can achieve success in shooting, we can do it as well. We only need to find our own path and fight for it," said Indian coach Deepali Deshpande, whose team has collected 16 golds in four World Cup events this year.

"I could almost sing the Indian national anthem," a Chinese shooting coach said as he noted the achievements of the rising shooting powerhouse, Xinhua news reported.

The Indian side, despite great success in the World Cup Final, kept calm and targeted the 2020 Olympics. "It was only preparation for the Olympics. We are ending this season and will go step by step toward the Olympics," said Oleg Mikhailov, a Ukrainian who has coached in India for two years.

"India is better than us regarding the development of young shooters," Li admitted , saying the neighbour has become China's biggest contender in Tokyo's shooting range next year. "It will be a big challenge for us."

However, China's shooting chief still voiced his confidence to Xinhua, saying that "China has the ability and foundation to win."

"After the World Cup Final, we will start our winter training in early December. We will focus on strengthening basic skills, improving physical strength, and enhancing mental power," added Li.