Hoping for a mid-August resumption of camps for its Olympics core group, the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) office-bearers will meet on July 15 to review the situation and explore the limited options left with them amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NRAI has recently released a list of 34 shooters who will be training separately for the quadrennial sporting extravaganza, scheduled to be held next summer after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Games back by a year. These shooters form the core group for the Olympics. “There is a meeting on July 15 where the NRAI officials will review the situation, and explore the few options they have on their plate as far as resumption of camps is concerned,” a source close to shooting sport’s apex body in the country told PTI.
“At first the plan was to restart around mid-July but with the surge in coronavirus cases in India, things did not take off the way we expected.
“So now the aim is to start after Independence Day depending on how the situation pans out. Obviously everything will depend on SAI and government’s directives.”
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, in a virtual meet with representatives of various National Sports Federations (NSFs) last week, said competitive sporting events can start without spectators from August.
And even as the administrators get busy thrashing out resumption plans, India’s sportspersons want them to tread with caution, with the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down. Double World Cup gold medallist Abhishek Verma, who is part of the core group, had said that there is no way camps can be organised at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in the national capital, where the number of cases has grown exponentially in recent weeks.
A federation official said they are also exploring if camps can be organised in a small batch of four to five shooters at the most, with one coach to assist them.
“The focus will be mainly on the core group of shooters for the Olympics, that is obviously the top priority. “The NRAI is looking at ways to start the camp for them but without taking risks, keeping in mind the welfare of athletes, coaches and other other support staff at the facility,” the source said.
One of India’s senior-most shooters, Sanjeev Rajput had also spoken on similar lines recently. The COVID-19 pandemic has so far infected over 5.5 lakh people and claimed nearly 17000 lives in the country.
Topics mentioned in this article