Fearful over Oly preparations, India plans capturing GPs


Vinayak Padmadeo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 27

With uncertainty looming over international shooting tournaments due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is worried that Indian shooters might head to next year’s Tokyo Olympics without any competitions.

NRAI, thus, has plans to host at least four Grand Prix tournaments before the Tokyo Games.

It is understood that NRAI president Raninder Singh has discussed this with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Sports Ministry, but a formal proposal is yet to be submitted to the authorities.

Surging numbers

Fresh doubts have emerged over holding sports events amidst a fresh surge in the number of Covid cases in Europe and the USA — the USA has been reporting around 60,000 cases per day, while Europe has reported more than a million new cases in the past one week alone.

With the numbers expected to rise further, the International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) events, starting with the Shotgun World in Cairo in February-March next year, may not be held. New Delhi is scheduled to host the combined World Cup of rifle, pistol and shotgun competitions in March 2021, and this competition too is under a cloud of uncertainty.

First-timers

NRAI is especially worried about Indian shooters who will be participating in their first Olympics.

The ISSF top brass is on board with NRAI’s plans. The Tribune has learned that NRAI will be footing all the bills — including return tickets, boarding, transport and even the ammunition and targets — of the shooters who will show up for the events.

Raninder Singh, who is also an ISSF vice-president, did not comment on the development.

As per initial plans, shooters who had either entered the finals of last year’s World Cups and World Championships, besides those invited for the season-ending World Cup Finals, will be invited for the proposed Grand Prix in India.



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