In a major setback to the Indian shooters’ preparations for 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games and also the New Delhi World Cup in March next year, the coaching camp for the full national squad of over 100 shooters, scheduled to start from October 5, was postponed again.
In an email sent to the shooters, which was exclusively accessed by indianshooting.com, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) secretary Rajiv Bhatia has written that, “Due to administrative compulsions, the coaching camp proposed from 5th October, 2020 in Rifle/Pistol events at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges, New Delhi is postponed. A fresh circular will be issued in due course of time. Inconvenience is regretted.”
This is the second time when the NRAI has been forced to postpone the national camp. A “compulsory training camp” for the core group of shooters was planned from August 1 but with the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country and the opposition from shooters — many of them had expressed their reservations on travelling to New Delhi when the pandemic was surging – forced the national federation to call off the camp on July 31.
Another reason for the postponement of the earlier camp was a woman coach posted at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Ranges had tested positive for Covid-19.
Concerned that the shooters, who are India’s best medal hopes for the Tokyo Games, were missing out on training, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju had announced earlier this month that they would be able to train without having to travel away from their home ranges amid the pandemic and that ammunition would be made available to them at their doorstep.
Soon after, around September 15, NRAI received a request from the national coaches in rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines to organise a one-month national camp to ensure good preparations for the Olympics. NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia was also quoted as telling a news agency that, “We have received a request from the chief coaches to resume the national camp. Preferably, they want the camp to go on for at least a month.”
Since the break of Covid-19 the national federation has not been able to conduct any training camp or competition for the shooters.