Kenya targets to win shooting Olympic tickets in African championships

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-08 20:05:34|Editor: mingmei
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NAIROBI, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Kenya shooters are optimistic the country will break the jinx and secure several tickets in shooting competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

A total of 14 shooters have been training as Kenya Sports Shooting Federation (KSSF) eyes to secure more slots from the Africa quota.

Participation in the Olympic Shooting events is not guaranteed. Each country must earn "Quota Places" - one starting position to send athletes to the next Olympic Games. Only a total of 360 athletes will be able to compete in the 15 events across the Olympic disciplines at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Nigeria are some of the top countries in shooting in Africa.

Egyptian Hosny Hazem, the president of the African Shooting Sports Federation (ASSF), said that Algeria is the host of the 2019 continental championships with also need to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

"We are ready to offer a helping hand in the preparations and participation in the qualifiers. Africa has a huge potential and will be a challenger for medals in Tokyo," Hosny Hazem, the president of ASSF, said.

Kenya will enter 14 shooters to the tournament in Algeria. KSSF has invited three-time world champion Gagan Narang from India to coach the Kenyan team as they seek to take their preparations a notch higher.

"Kenyan shooters' skills and basics are good. With a little polish, they will be a big threat in Algeria. They need to improve their steadiness and firing under pressure," said Narang.

Small-bore captain Gurpreet Dhanjal urged Kenya's firing squad to polish up on their precision to ensure they do not miss the qualifying mark like last time.

"Competitors have to win gold medals or hit the Olympic quotas in the various disciplines. This time, shooters have to be very keen starting from their first round," Dhanjal said.

Kenya missed out sending any of its shooters to the Rio Olympics in 2016. Despite Gulraaj Sehmi winning Africa shooting competition, but he missed to hit the qualifying mark for the Olympics.

However, Sehmi is hopeful to be lucky for the second time trying. The Africa shooting competition will start on Nov. 16.

National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) acting secretary-general, Francis Mutuku said they are hopeful Kenya will do well in Algeria and have at least five shooters make the cut.

"I have seen the Kenya Sports Shooting prepare. They are almost ready for Olympic qualifiers next week in Algeria. I wish them all the best," said Mutuku.

Nock will give all the necessary support to the team as they seek to qualify for the Olympic Games. "We want to get many athletes to qualify for both Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024," said Mutuku.