Shooting has emerged as one of the more successful sporting disciplines of late for India at the Olympics.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore started the trend at the 2004 Athens Olympics where he won a silver. This was followed by Abhinav Bindra who became the first Indian to win an individual gold at the Beijing Olympics of 2008. Thereafter, in 2012, India got a silver and a bronze, courtesy Vijay Kumar and Gagan Narang at the London Olympics.
Proof of the rising influence of the sport lies in the fact that an unprecedented 12 shooters have qualified for Rio.
One of the shooters among the 12 is Kynan Chenai who would be playing in his first Olympics.
Chenai booked his place for Rio early in January. Finishing with a score of 120 out of 125 in the Asian qualifiers held in India, the 25-year-old took one of the top four spots available for qualification.
Born on January 29, 1991, into a Parsi family in Hyderabad, Chenai took up the game when he was 12 and won gold at the National Junior Men's Trap Shooting event held at Ahmedabad in 2007.
An avid sportsman since boyhood, Chenai was into competitive sport very early. He went on to represent his school in Field Hockey, Football and Swimming.
His first senior title came at Trap Shooting Asian Clay Championships 2008 held in Jaipur shortly after he won golds at 51st National Shotgun Championships and Commonwealth Youth Games earlier that year.
“When I was young and just starting to shoot, I would see Olympic rings somewhere and I would tell myself that I would work to be there one day. I would watch the Games on TV every four years and would be dying to be there,” he says.
The feeling of having qualified for the Olympics is yet to fully sink in.
“I think it will hit me only after the Games, because you can only be an Olympian after you have gone and participated,” he says.
Even though this is his first Olympics, Chenai is confident of doing well.
“I’m training hard and I know once you make it to the finals, anything can happen. I’m not going there to make the numbers, I will be fighting for gold,” he says.
(India's Olympic Hope is a series of profiles of south India's Olympic participants of Rio 2016)