Today News Online Service
New Delhi, April 18
With Covid-19 cases rising in India’s Olympics shooting squad, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), working with the Sports Authority of India, has decided to organise a training-cum-competition trip abroad.
As per the original plan, the national camp for the rifle team was to start in New Delhi on April 20 while the pistol team was to assemble on April 25.
However, the plan has been shelved after three shooters from the Olympics team contracted the virus. Of the three, one has recovered while a rifle shooter and a prominent pistol shooter are still under observation.
Because of the rising cases we have decided to cancel the national camp. We are in the process of finalising new dates and as soon as we decide them, we will announce the dates and venue. In the meantime we request the Indian government to vaccinate our athletes soon as possible. —Raninder Singh, nrai president
Subject to a formal approval by the Sports Ministry, the team will instead have a training camp in Croatia, where they will also participate at the European Championships as Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) shooters.
Move to Croatia
As per the tentative plan, the team will move abroad to Osijek in Croatia in the first week of May. The team will stay there until the championships and then head for the ISSF World Cup in Baku in Azerbaijan. The team will stay in Azerbaijan until the last week of June before heading home.
“One shooter has recovered while two are under observation and considering the circumstances we cannot rule out that others will not catch get the virus. Because of the rising cases we have decided to cancel the national camp,” NRAI president Raninder Singh told The Tribune.
“We are in the process of finalising new dates and as soon as we decide them, we will announce the dates and venue. In the meantime we request the Indian government to vaccinate our athletes soon as possible,” he added.
The NRAI has decided to keep the main Olympics team and the reserves in two different venues for fear of exposure to the virus. “The reserves will not train with the main team. We have to keep the two groups apart because if someone in the main team contracts the virus, the reserve is on standby to take his or her place,” Singh explained. “We can’t risk exposing the entire squad.”