The novel coronavirus outbreak has prompted six countries, including the deadly disease’s epicentre China, to withdraw from next month’s ISSF World Cup in New Delhi, the National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) revealed on Wednesday.
The World Cup is slated to be held from March 15 to 26 at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range.
National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh said on Wednesday that six countries have withdrawn from the World Cup due to corona virus.
A total of 80 countries were to participate in the prestigious competition. But China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea and Turkmenistan have withdrawn from the competition due to the corona virus.
“There were some countries which were coming but because of the COVID-19 outbreak, their national policies dictate that they can’t come,” Raninder told reporters.
“China has taken a wise decision on their own as a nation. They don’t want to infect others and hence won’t travel. Taiwan, which has locked down their entire island, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea and Turkmenistan have also backed out because of national policies,” added Raninder, referring to the domestic travel restrictions imposed by the governments of these countries.
Earlier this month, the Indian government refused to grant visas to Chinese grapplers for the Asian Wrestling Championship held here due to the disease which originated from Wuhan and has killed more than 2,600 and infected over 80,000 people all over the world.
The NRAI chief also informed that Pakistan will also not be competing at the event as the country’s shooters are busy familiarising themselves with a new coach.
“Don’t connect last time to this time. Pakistan were never coming. They have two athletes who have qualified for pistol events for the Tokyo Olympics,” he said referring to the denial of visas to Pakistani shooters in last year’s Delhi World Cup.
“My colleague Mr. Javed Lodhi (Pakistan shooting federation’s executive vice president) has informed me that ‘our coach in Germany is only available during that time and our shooters would much rather train with him for the Olympic events than participate in the Delhi World Cup,” Raninder added.
Last year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had suspended all Indian applications to host international events after two Pakistani shooters were denied visas to compete in the Delhi World Cup.
The sanction was later lifted after assurances from the Sports Ministry that political issues would not come in the way of granting visas to participating athletes.