What you need to know:
- Men and women gold and silver medallists in air rifle and air pistol will qualify for the Paris Summer Games while only gold medallists from the rest
- Wangui said they expect a tough war against firers from Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria among other countries heading to Cairo
- Sehmi said this could be his last shot at the Olympic Games, having missed the 2016 Rio despite winning the African title the previous year
The national shooting team landed safely in Cairo on Sunday ready for the Africa Shooting Championships-cum-2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers in the Egyptian capital.
The team of 12 shooters, six men, five women and three officials, was received at the Cairo International Airport by the Africa Sports Shooting Federation President Hasem Hosney.
The team was due to leave the country on Friday night but delayed until Saturday night owing to lack of funds but Kenya Sports Shooting Federation (KSSF) chairman Shoiab Vayani, said all was well after Sports Fund stepped in.
“They say a stitch in time saves nine...we are happy that our firers are finally out to chase their Olympic dream. We can only provide them with the opportunity then judge them from there,” said Vayani, who is confident of a good show upon arrival in Cairo.
Vayani, who oversaw the team’s last training session at the Nairobi Sailing Club before departure, said there are high chances of securing some slots.
The championships will feature men and women’s Air Rifle, Rifle Three Position, Air Pistol, Skeet and Trap. Also on the card are men’s Rapid Fire Pistol and women’s 25m Pistol.
Men and women gold and silver medallists in air rifle and air pistol will qualify for the Paris Summer Games while only gold medallists from the rest.
The team that is handled by Gurupreet Dhanjal has the 2015 Africa the Smallbore 50m Prone champion Gulraj Sehmi, 2022 Africa 10m Air Pistol silver medallist Maurice Morara and fast-rising Priscilla Wangui, who is on Olympic Solidarity scholarship.
“We have prepared well, though not 100 percent as we would have loved but we have done the hard work,” said Dhanjal, pointing out that they have a good chance with several of them having attended some international shoots this year and high level training.
“Wangui was in France for two weeks while Moraa claimed silver in the previous continental event and that gives us a good chance with the additional chances in air weapon events too,” said Dhanjal, adding that the Olympic qualification has been changing gradually.
"The Olympic scholarship has enabled me to acquire good competition gear and ammunition besides accessing high level coaches in France," said Wangui. "It is a dream I had for a long time, hence I am well equipped and ready for the championships."
However, Wangui said they expect a tough war against firers from Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria among other countries heading to Cairo.
"We have a good range and talented firers but I want the government or the National Olympic Committee of Kenya to bring in coaches or send us out there for exposure," said Wangui.
Sehmi said this could be his last shot at the Olympic Games, having missed the 2016 Rio despite winning the African title the previous year. "We will have to try our best and hope that our best is good enough," said Sehmi.
Morara said he hopes to produce a similar run like last year to finish in top two and make it to Paris in Air Pistol. "I tried to qualify for the previous Olympics unsuccessfully through the World Cup but we have a good chance here," said Morara.
Sanford Otundo (10m Air Rifle, 50m Prone Rifle, 50m 3 Position Rifle)
Gulraj Sehmi (10m Air Rifle, 50m Prone Rifle, 50m 3 Position Rifle)
Gurupreet Dhanjal (10m Air Rifle, 50m Prone Rifle, 50m 3 Position Rifle)
Maurice Morara (10m Air Pistol)
David Kirui (10m Air Pistol)
Christopher Saina (10m Air Pistol)
Dhruv Shah (Skeet)
Jaspal Madharu (Skeet)
Gibran Darr (Skeet Trap).
Marriane Cherotich (10m Air Pistol)
Dorin Atieno Okiri (10m Air Pistol)
Priscilla Wangui (10m Air Rifle, 50m 3 Position Rifle)
Jane Wanjiru (10m Air Pistol)