Olympic medallist Vijay Kumar has been named in the national pistol shooting squad for the 2022 season by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
The pistol squad also sees the return of Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jitu Rai. The 34-year-old Rio Olympian participated in the national shooting selection trials in Madhya Pradesh last month and last competed for India in 2018.
A deputy superintendent of police in his home state of Himachal Pradesh, Vijay Kumar last competed in an international event at the 2018 ISSF World Championships in Changwon, South Korea.
“I was completely off shooting all these years. I love the sport but there are other priorities in life,” Vijay Kumar told the Hindustan Times.
“It is not easy to come back after such a long gap. The moment you are far away from competitive training, it takes time to get that control back. Of course, experience helps.
“I trained for two months before the nationals and it is a good sign that in four-five months I have made it to the national squad. I am feeling good,” Vikay Kumar added.
Vijay Kumar made the cut for the rapid fire pistol, an Olympic event, and the 25m centre fire pistol teams.
Besides being an Olympics medallist, Vijay Kumar is also a five-time Commonwealth Games gold medal winner. He has bagged three medals at the Asian Games and two at the ISSF World Championships.
Tokyo Olympian Saurabh Chaudhary, CWG gold medal winners Anish Bhanwala, Gurpreet Singh and Harpreet Singh, and ISSF World Championships gold medallist Adarsh Singh also made the pistol squad.
Reigning junior world champion Manu Bhaker, Olympian Rahi Sarnobat, Esha Singh, and Rhythm Sangwan are in the women’s squad.
The NRAI, on Thursday, also announced a 12-member rifle squad for the ISSF World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan next month. The team includes Tokyo Olympians Apurvi Chandela, Elavenil Valarivan and Deepak Kumar.
Indian shooters will be in action at the ISSF World Cup Shotgun in Lonato, Italy later this month.