Kenyan shooters leave today ahead of the Africa Championships cum Olympic Games qualifier in Tipasa, Algeria which begin on Sunday.
The 13 Kenyans will be up against host Algeria, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco and Nigeria as they seek to bag 2020 Tokyo Olympics slots in the seven-day competition.
The team will be captained by small-bore trigger puller Gurpreet Dhanjal and has been undergoing intensive training under the watchful eyes of Indian and 2012 London Olympics 10m Air Rifle bronze medallist Gagan Narang, in Nairobi.
Other members of the squad include Gulraaj Sehmi, Idris Kasmani, David Kirui, Christopher Saina, Maurice Morara and Francis Kinyua.
They will battle in men’s 10m Air Pistol, while Linet Owiti, Maryanne Cherotich, Dorin Okiri and Jane Wanjiru will compete in women’s event.
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Sehmi will double up in men’s 10m Air Rifle team that has Dhanjal and Sanford Otundo while the women’s team has Pricillah Mburu.
Competitors have to win gold medals or hit the Olympic quotas in the various disciplines.
Quota places are allocated only to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs).
Kenya Sports Shooting Federation (KSSF) chairman Shoaib Vayani is optimistic the shooters will secure slots to the upcoming Olympic Games next year.
“The training has been uninterrupted and I’m sure the team will do well. They are in high spirits and the squads received the national flag from Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amina Mohammed,” Vayani said yesterday.
On his part, 10m Air Rifle shooter Otundo, who will debut at the Olympics qualification competition, said: “We have been training for almost one month now and all is well.”
At the last Olympics Games in Rio, Kenya did not field any shooters. [Dennis Okeyo]