Narang pulls out of Nationals

With the 56th National Shooting Championships set to be begin with the marque events of 10m air rifle and trap at the Karni Singh Shooting range from Thursday, there will be one notable absentee from the participants' list: London bronze medallist Gagan Narang.

Narang has pulled out of the competition citing a knee injury and has also notified the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) officials. The 29-year-old did not participate in official training, which is organised as a rule before the qualification rounds that begin from Thursday.

"He has a strain on the knee and was advised to skip the tournament," said a source close to the shooter. The Nationals will be the second tournament in succession, after October's World Cup finals, from which Narang has pulled out. He will now fly back to his hometown Hyderabad, where he will continue his recovery process.

In Narang's absence, Abhinav Bindra will be the leading name in the fray at the 10m air rifle range on Thursday. As many as 260 out of the 492 shooters who are participating will compete on Day One of the qualifications.

Thursday will also be the first day of trap qualifications -- which like the 10m event will be stretched to three days with a burgeoning participants list, which includes, among others, former world champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu. Other important contestants include Mansher Singh, Anwer Sultan, Kynan Chinai and also the NRAI president Raninder Singh.

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