The national shooting federation (NRAI) on Tuesday deferred the 'compulsory' national camp for its Olympic core group for an indefinite period on health safety grounds. Reviewing the decision taken during the emerging meeting of its governing council on July 14, the NRAI said the "health and safety of its shooters and coaches was of paramount importance" in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NRAI had decided to conduct a national camp in the first week of August. "Under the prevailing conditions with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governing Body decided to defer the camp, till the time conditions are safer all-around as well as suitable for outstation travel," the national federation said in a statement. "Health and safety of Shooters/Coaches was paramount in the review of the decision. NRAI will announce a new schedule at a later date."
The training was postponed on last Thursday after a shooting coach at the camp's venue – Dr. Karni Singh Range – tested positive for COVID-19. A handful of shooters such as World Cup medallist Sanjeev Rajput, Manu Bhaker and Anish Bhanwala have been training at the facility for the last few days alongside shotgun marksmen like Sheeraz Sheikh and Mairaj Ahmad Khan since it reopened on July 8. They are likely to continue with their daily practice, adhering to the health and safety protocols.
While the shooters residing in places such as Delhi and Haryana resumed training at the range, those living outside the National Capital Region (NCR) were apprehensive, considering the threat travelling could pose. Both Bhaker and Rajput are quota holders for the Tokyo Olympics.
A total of 15 Indian shooters have secured quota places for the Olympic Games, postponed to next year due to the raging pandemic. The NRAI had appointed High-Performance Manager and former India shooter Ronak Pandit as the Nodal Officer in charge of overall coordination for hygiene and medical protocols at the camp.