Olympics exposure will be helpful for Sneha in SAG: Coach Khati
KATHMANDU, July 24: Nepali shooters have featured in every edition of the Olympics since their first participation in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Sneha Rana will be one of five players representing Nepal in shooting during the London Olympic Games that begin Friday.
Rana, 18, got a chance to represent Nepali shooting at the Olympics through wild card after she achieved ´Minimum Qualification Scored´ (MQS) points during the Asian Championship held in Doha of Qatar five months ago and also during the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010.
Rana, the seventh shooter to represent Nepal in the Olympics, will be competing in the 10 m air rifle event. To get wild card entry a player must score at least 375 points out of the total 400 points. Rana had collected 385 points in Guangzhou and 386 points in Doha.
"We don´t have very high hopes from Rana in the Olympics, but we are confident that she will set a new national record," said senior shooting coach Pradip Khati, who trained Rana during the early days of her career as well as before her departure for the Olympics. Rana left for London on Saturday.
Rana, the winner of the 10 m air rifle event, achieved her personal best of 386 points (official) during the Doha Asian Championship and also during the Sixth National Games held some six months ago in the far-western region. Bhagawati KC holds the national record with 388 points. "Though Rana´s personal best is 389 points, it was during an unofficial event -- selection of Nepali women shooters for the Olympics -- and now we expect her to achieve 390 points."
"Rana had finished second in the National Open Shooting Championship held a year ago. She failed to achieve the top position as she fell ill during the event and could not practice properly," Khati said.
"Before competing in a mega event like the Olympics, a shooter must compete in at least 4-5 international events but Nepali shooters have very less international exposure. It is almost impossible to win medals in such competitions without international experience," Khati said, adding, "She does not have much international experience."
"I think the Olympics experience will be helpful for her during the upcoming South Asian Games (SAG) to be held in India. I think she will secure at least a silver medal at the 2013 SAG," said Khati. So far Nepal has not won a single medal in individual event of shooting in SAG.
Unlike the other four players competing in the Olympics, Rana did not get the chance to train abroad for a month prior to the Olympics. But according to Khati, she trained regularly at the Satdobato shooting range after she got wild card entry during the first week of June.
Rana took up shooting at the age of 12 in Nepalgunj. Not only Sneha, her whole family including her mother, maternal uncle and grandfather were professional shooters. "Her mother Joshna Rana represented Mid-western Region in national level tournaments about a decade ago. Her uncle Keshav Pratap Singh was the national champion some one-and-half decades ago. Similarly, her late grandfather Sajjan Singh Thakuri (Mamaji) is credited with introducing shooting in Nepalgunj. In fact, shooting runs in Sneha´s family," stated Khati.
Rana´s record tally
Official personal best: 386 points achieved at 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games Non-official personal best: 389 points during training in Kathmandu Target: 390 points National record: 388 points by Bhagawati KC during the qualifiers for 2000 Sydney Olympics