Confined to their homes owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s marksmen and women will soon be provided with shooting range simulators — SIUS Ascor’s electronic target systems — which will allow them to practice indoors efficiently. Work is already underway but it could still take a month’s time for the equipment to be delivered to the shooters.
The Swiss company is the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic scoring system for the precision sport and is associated with the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF). At a time when the world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to enforcement of lockdowns and social distancing, such product will help the shooters to continue their practice, albeit within the four walls of their homes.
Former shooting ace and national pistol coach Jaspal Rana said they are trying to get it at the earliest. “We are already on working on getting it but it can still take one month. SIUS Ascor’s range will help the shooters to at least practice indoors,” multiple-time Asian Games gold medallist Rana told PTI. Indoor shooting is a simulation of the real thing outside. As with everything else, the COVID-19 crisis has left the shooters with no option but to stop their outdoor practice and stay at home. The pandemic has led to the cancellation or postponement of all sports events with the biggest blow being dealt on Tuesday when the Tokyo Olympic Games was postponed by the International Olympic Committee (IPC) to next year.
This is a “massive setback” for all the aspiring medal hopefuls in the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza, which was earlier scheduled to be held in July-August. “This is going to make a big difference for sure. The last three years they have been tirelessly working on their game, hoping to perform at the biggest stage,” Rana said. “But, having said that, we can’t be complacent when faced with something which we have never experienced or imagined in our lives. I support the IOC’s decision to postpone the Games. There was no other way out. We cannot complain and crib. We must, at all times, abide by the guidelines issued by the authorities and ensure that we are all safe and alive,” said Jaspal, who is currently coaching Manu Bhaker, Abhishek Verma and Chinki Yadav — all of whom who have secured Olympic quotas.
The shooters went through one Olympic trial before everything was shut down. Another issue could be when and how the shooters peak, but the coach has faith in his mature athletes that they will tide over all the challenges. The shooters are practising at their homes and Rana is keeping a tab of their progress daily.