17 year old shooter, Manu Bhaker shot 244.3 to win the top prize in her event. She had already secured an Olympic quota at the Munich World Cup in May. India qualified for the tournament having secured nine Tokyo Olympics quotas in pistol and rifle events while China is currently leading the charts with 25 quotas and is followed by Korea and hosts Japan with 12 slots each, in terms of quota won.
With 38 quotas on offer, the country is fielding a 41-member team — six entries for Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) — across the 15 Olympic events. The tournament is the last chance for shooters to earn quotas for the Tokyo Olympics, slated for next July-August.A sport like shooting involves sports as a skill-based discipline where strength, flexibility, and aerobic fitness play a key role in ensuring consistency and accuracy throughout long periods of training and competition.
Competitions majorly include pistol, rifle, and shotgun categories with most being held in summer months. Athletes may spend 2-3 hours on the range most days of the week. They often have multiple training sessions on a day both on and off the range, which focuses on core strength, flexibility to be comfortable and aerobic fitness with resting heart rate.
Diet and nutrition for shooters
Nutrition is important for performance, appetite and body composition. Nutrition in sports primarily aims at maintaining concentration, preventing physical fatigue and promoting adaptation to maximise the benefits from time spent in the gym and on the range. This clearly proves that food not only fuels muscle but also fuels the brain for focus, skill and concentration on the range.
A nutrient-dense diet is important for shooting athletes. Consuming a wide variety of foods from all food groups, including carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats like nuts and avocados. Choosing good quality snack choices and limiting high-energy snacks (like sweets, chips, pastries, cakes) will improve overall diet quality.
Eating a carbohydrate based snack (e.g. fruit, yoghurt, wholegrain crackers with cheese) before training can help to ‘function brain better and provide strength to muscles for the session ahead. Hydration is essential for shooters as it helps in focussing and improves concentration. It can hinder co-ordination. Shooters should drink adequate fluids to maintain good hydration levels during training and competition. Liquid needs and intake vary depending on the athletes’ size and gender as well as environmental conditions (e.g. humid, cold and hot weather, which can be common during training and competition).
Lower glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates can be useful to have before competition as these deliver a more sustained and slow release of carbohydrate, which can also help prevent the distraction of hunger during competition.
The pre-competition meal should not be something that causes stomach upset. Possible options include:
- Wholegrain egg sandwich/roll and salad
- Porridge with milk and fresh fruits
- Baked beans on multigrain toast
- Grilled paneer with plain yoghurt
- Poached eggs and avocado on toast
- Nervous athletes may find it difficult to eat before an event. Eating something light earlier in the day can help with digestion to avoid upset gut. Fruit smoothies may also be easier for athletes who don’t want to go for meals.
- Carbohydrate sources can enhance performance and delay the onset of fatigue.
- Some options include:
- Sip regularly on fluids throughout competition
- Use individual bottles to a keep track of fluid intake
- Since,sodium promotes fluid absorption and retention so choose higher electrolyte fluids
- Include easily digested snacks between events will help keep blood glucose levels in control to sustain focus and avoid fatigue.
Some appropriate snack choices include:
- Dairy based smoothies or flavoured milk
- Fruit fresh in natural juice
- Sandwiches with lean meat
- Grainy crackers
Post competition meals
Recovery meals and snacks are particularly important after hard training sessions and long days of competition – especially if competing over several days. For good results of recovery nutrition, it is important to maintain carbohydrate storesfor function & development and replace fluids lost through sweat. There are three main goals of recovery nutrition:
- Refuel muscle glycogen
- Repair muscle
Suitable recovery food options can include:
- Sandwich and salad
- Yoghurt and homemade wholegrain cereal bar
- Salmon, tuna or chicken filling in multigrain bread
- Stir-fry with lean meat and vegetables on rice
- Homemade pizza with veggies topping